Maundy Thursday – Gethsemane

He went out to a place called Gethsemane with his friends.  The night was cool and still and he could feel a stirring in his spirit.  He told those following him to wait while he went and prayed, and only the three closest with him followed.  He could hear their footsteps behind him as they walked further into the garden.  A shiver went up his spine and he turned to them.

“What’s wrong?” Peter asked, seeming alarmed.

“Something is going to happen,” he said quietly.  “I feel a terrible weight on my soul.  I’m not sure I have to strength to do what needs to be done.”

“Why don’t we rest, then?” Peter said to him.  “It’s late and you are weary.”

He shook his head and let out a shaking breath.  “No.  I need to pray.  Please stay and keep watch for me.  I don’t wish to be alone right now.”

His friends watched as he went a little further in, worried about him, but they stayed where he’d asked them to and kept watch for anyone else who might come.

He dropped to his knees and pressed his face flat on the ground, shudders racking his whole body.  Tears stung at his eyes as terror and sorrow clutched at his heart.  “Father, please, take this cup from me.  If there is some other way… but if You will this, I shall go.”

Angels stood in the shadows of the garden, watching him while he prayed.  Gabriel had to hold himself back from going to him, knowing that he was not to intercede.  Uriel frowned and whispered, “What’s happening?  Why is he so distraught?”

“Something’s going to happen,” Raphael said in a grave tone.  “I am not sure what, but Father doesn’t want us interfering with whatever it may be.”

“But look at him,” Uriel said, a twinge of sorrow gripping her as well.  “He needs comfort.”

“He has Father,” Michael said quietly.

He stood up after he’d finished praying, letting out a shaking breath and turning to go back to his friends.  They were asleep, not at all paying attention to anything going on around them.  He raised his voice to rouse them, saying, “How could you be sleeping when I asked you to keep watch?  Couldn’t you stay awake even for an hour?”

“Sorry,” his friends said.  “It’s late, and we’re tired.”

He sighed and turned away.  “Please, just pray with me, and don’t fall into temptation.  The spirit is strong but the flesh is weak.”

He went off to pray again, settling on his knees once more and saying, “Father, if there truly is no other way, then I shall drink from this cup, as your will is done.”

“Something is happening,” Gabriel said.  “He doesn’t want to do it, whatever it is, but Father has asked him to so he must.”

“But what’s going to happen?” Uriel asked.

“I don’t know.”

He went back to his friends and found them sleeping once more, but he did not bother to wake them.  He sighed and returned to praying, saying the same thing once more.  The angels continued to watch and Michael let out a heavy breath.

“If there is truly nothing we can do for him, perhaps we should leave.”

“Perhaps we should,” Raphael said grimly.

Gabriel hesitated then nodded his head.  “You’re right.  We shouldn’t be here.”

He returned to his friends a third time and awakened them, his voice stronger and more commanding.  “Are you really still sleeping?  Look, the hour has come and the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of sinners.  Get up.  My betrayer is here.”

At just that moment, a crowd of people came, led by Judas, one of his own friends.  Judas came forward and said, “Teacher, here you are.”  Judas kissed him on the cheek and a shiver went through him, and then a strange sense of calm overtook him.  There was no going back now.  Everything was set into place.

“Do what you came for, friend,” he said quietly.

The men who came with Judas stepped forward to arrest him.  One of his friends panicked and drew a sword, cutting off the ear of one of the servants accompanying the crowd.

“Put your sword back!” he said.  “All who draw the sword die by the sword.  I could call upon my Father and He will send more than twelve legions of angels to command.”

Michael stiffened and watched closely, his eyes growing wide.  “Wait, are we to act now?”

“But if I did that,” he went on, “how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must be this way?”

Gabriel nearly stopped breathing when he heard this.  With a shudder he told the others, “We need to leave.  Now.  I know what’s happening and we should not be here for it.”

Michael and Uriel both stared at him, looking perplexed, but Raphael seemed to understand and the four of them left.

He was taken into custody that morning and all of his friends and followers fled from him in fear.

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