Scripture: Mark 14:32 (Jesus) went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34 And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”
Observation: As the end is near, reality sets in for Jesus. He has known for some time that he would die and rise again, but as the hour draws near, the burden gets increasingly heavy. Jesus didn’t want to die. He certainly didn’t want to die by crucifixion. But in the end he submitted to the plans of the Father. And we are all blessed because of his obedience.
Application: Monday is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s the day we honor the men and women who have died defending our nation in times of war. As we enter Memorial Day weekend, my thoughts go to my great-uncle Charles. He was my maternal grandmother’s older brother. With his father deceased, Charles was essentially the man of the house. He cared for his mother and his two younger sisters while growing up in San Antonio. When war broke out in late 1941, there was a mass mobilization of young men to fight in the Pacific and European theatres. Eventually Charles was called to do his duty for his country.
As my grandmother told me before she passed away, Charles was hesitant to go – not because he feared for himself, but our of concern for his family. Yet, like millions of other young people of his generation, Charles served his country honorably – and was killed in the battle at Anzio, Italy in the spring of 1944. His death notice arrived on Mother’s Day, 1944 (a fact my grandmother remembered every Mother’s Day thereafter). He was buried in San Antonio roughly a year later in May, 1945.
Today we remember the millions of young men and women who, through 200+ years of our nation’s history, have given everything to the cause of freedom around the globe.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, today we thank you for those who have sacrificed their young lives to secure our nation’s freedom. At the same time we remember that you did not withhold your own Son Jesus from death, so that we might live. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.