Monday, May 1, 2017

The Petros Journals- The Account in Gethsemane

Hey Everyone, 

It's a great day to share a bit more from my upcoming project, The Petros Journals, Memoirs from the Apostle Peter. For today I thought I would share a bit from the Garden of Gethsemane.  This was the moment in Jesus' human life in which he struggled the most and it is a powerful testimony of who Jesus is.

Feel free to share your thoughts and spread the word.


The night as cold, we'd just finished our meal with Jesus, and many of us were thinking to ourselves, "what did he mean someone would betray him." We had spent a good portion of the evening walking down the streets of Jerusalem, and Jesus was teaching many things. To be honest, I didn't understand a lot of what he was saying, but he was there, and he was teaching us something.  We were sure that eventually, he'd explain it in the form of one of his stories or something, but in that instance, he did not.

It was as if his entire demeanor had changed. His generally joyful personality was now one that seemed full of despair. His once beautiful smile now appeared to be a little softer.  His stature now echoed that of a man with the weight of the world upon his shoulders, instead of a man filled with joy and general happiness. As we journeyed further into the city, Jesus continued to teach. "What was he talking about, where was he going with all this talk of death and glory?" None of it made any sense. However, we listened, and the aftermath would be indescribable.

Moreover, that night would be present in our thoughts for many, many years to come. Even in my old age, I can still remember most of the details from that dark and miserable night. Everything that took place still haunts me today. My actions throughout that entire evening were unbecoming of a "Fisher of Men, " and I have often pleaded with God in prayer over the agony I still feel on occasion. Many times I endeavored to share these memories with others, only to hold them back. This night, in particular, is one that I knew needed to be shared, if only I had the courage to do so. That night, regardless of my weakness. 

At one point Jesus took the sons of thunder, James, and John and me away from the others and he lead us up to the garden.  It was a dark place, at this point in the evening the shadows played many tricks on anyone who came near. As the four of us traveled up to the garden, Jesus was quiet.  He was mumbling under his breath in words we could not understand. Nonetheless, I could tell something was bothering him. Alas, I did not dare to ask. I dare not ask, because of what He'd told me during our meal together earlier that day. 

It was a humbling response to what I meant as a supportive statement to Jesus. He'd warned us that one of the twelve would betray him tonight and I responded by telling Him I would never do such a thing. What he said next broke me, "You will deny me three times." I couldn't imagine doing such a thing, and yet soon after our experience in the garden, I did just that. 

I didn’t want to believe that I would do something like that, but now that I think back on that evening, I still had my doubts, I held myself back. As we entered the garden, It was dark, it was cold, and there was a presence I’d never felt before. My heart like many times before was racing faster than normal.  I knew something was going down, but my body was utterly exhausted. 

I could tell that Jesus was uneasy about something, I didn’t know what, but it was there. With each step we took towards the center of the garden, his posture weakened. With each step he took, I could see a strain upon his shoulders. The brothers and I questioned this, but Jesus left us for a few moments. “Stay awake and watch over me,” he asked. 

We sat under a few trees and Jesus prayed. “Father, if it is possible take this cup from me.” As he prayed, I watched on, barely able to see him, as he lay on his face weeping. We were okay for a while, but the three of us were tired. We tried, but in the end, we simply could not stay awake. After what seemed like a few hours Jesus returned. “Why are you sleeping, stay awake and pray, my soul is in anguish, pray that you will not fall into temptation,” he asked again. 

Jesus went back to pray. Again, I only heard a few words before my body could no longer endure its restlessness. I noticed him come to us for a moment and then leave once again. I wish I had known then what I know now about what and why he was praying. I wish that I had listened to his words more intently and stayed with him as he prayed. Maybe then things would have turned out differently than they did. Again he returned, “Can you not stay with me for just a few hours, rest later, the time has come.” 

At that moment, my soul wavered. I could see Jesus’ sweat as it fell from his face, I remember it distinctly as it became like great drops of blood as it hit the ground. I knew he wanted us to support him in his time of need, but I didn’t understand why he needed us.I didn’t understand what was going on, all I knew was that we’d had a long day and I needed some rest. I was selfish and in the moments following my selfishness took hold of my heart.  As Jesus looked on, he seemed more calm. 

In the distance I could see a man we all knew and loved, coming with the Priest's men. It was Judas, then I remembered what Jesus said while we ate our Passover meal together. I remembered that Jesus had pulled Judas aside and whispered to him. I had just assumed it had something to do with our financial state since he was in charge of them. It was only later that I realized that Jesus was telling him that he would be the one to betray him. 

Judas came near and stood before Jesus, in many ways it seemed as if Judas was going to do the unthinkable.Instead, I saw as Judas kissed Jesus on the cheek. Jesus quietly replied to Judas’ gesture, “Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” I watched as the soldiers tried to take my Jesus away from me and I thought this was my best chance at showing Jesus that I would never deny him.

One of the priests, men went for Jesus, I knew I had to do something to stop this. Jesus had done so much for me, and all I could think about was those words “You will deny me, Peter.” I couldn’t bear the thought of it anymore. “Lord, we will fight.” I pulled my short edged blade out and in an instant, without even thinking a man’s ear had fallen to the ground. The blood was everywhere and my thirst, if even for a moment, was gratified. 

I had done what I thought needed to be done to prove I would not deny the Savior. But then, the unexpected happened. Jesus healed the man. “Why, I asked, what is the purpose behind his motivation. All I remembered was these words, “Put your sword back, shall I not drink from the cup my Father has given me?” I honestly, didn’t understand.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

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