Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Matthew 26:36-46

In the hearing and pursuing of this Divine direction for our own lives, there’s a good possibility that, like Christ, we’ll face some manner of a cross to bear, which might include suffering. When these times happen, we have Jesus to follow as the example. While anguish over the experience is evident in his words, this phrase speaks volumes: “Rise, let us be going.” Despite knowing fully what was going to happen, he stepped into it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was someone who had to know what he was getting into. He was living in a place and time where evil was rampant and people withstanding it perished. It was his end, too, being killed shortly before wars end. In his book, “The Cost of Discipleship,” I read the quote listed below. As you read it, perhaps the Lord is inviting you to surrender to what looks and feels like a cross, inhibiting you’re ‘rising and going.’  If this is your experience, remember Christ’s experience and his words. Take courage from Jesus’s reaction and step into it.

“The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death—we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

By Rich Obrecht

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