A Bitter Choice
Matthew 26:36–56; Mark 14:32–50; Luke 22:39–53; John 18:1-12; The Desire of Ages, pp. 685–697
I thank Jesus for choosing to save me.
“ ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’ ” (Luke 22:42, NIV).
Have you ever been punished for something you did not do? If you were, how did you feel? In our Bible story today we will learn about a choice Jesus made, a choice to be punished for something He didn’t do.
The Last Supper was over. Jesus and His disciples walked to the Mount of Olives. They climbed to the Garden of Gethsemane, a place where Jesus often prayed. Jesus led the disciples a little way into the garden. “Wait here,” He said. Then Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to go farther into the garden with Him. “Watch and pray,” Jesus told them.
Jesus moved on a little further. Quietly He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me.” He longed for someone to share His sorrow. He returned to the three men. But they slept. Three times He prayed that same prayer. Three times He sought comfort from the three disciples.
A bright light shone from Jesus’ direction. A shining angel cradled Jesus in his arms, talking quietly. Jesus became calm and serene. He had been strengthened to meet the cross.
“Get up,” said Jesus to Peter, James, and John. “It is time to go. My enemies are coming.”
They hardly reached the other disciples when lights of a mob approached. Many soldiers, people, and some leaders of Israel were led into the garden by Judas. Judas greeted Jesus with a kiss.
“Whom do you seek?” Jesus asked the mob.
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered.
“I am He,” Jesus replied.
Jesus could have escaped, but He chose to stand before the mob. The disciples watched, silent with wonder.
The mob quickly gathered around Jesus. He spoke again. “If you seek Me, let these others go their way,” He said, pointing to the disciples. Then the soldiers used ropes to tie Jesus’ hands together.
The disciples couldn’t believe their eyes. They thought Jesus would just walk away. He had done that before. But this was different. The mob began to move back down into the valley. They were taking Jesus toward the high priest’s palace! This was unbelievable!
The disciples turned and ran away. They couldn’t understand why Jesus would let Himself suffer like this.
It was amazing love that led Jesus to choose to suffer—love for all those He and His Father had created. Love for you and for me.