By Henry Adelegan
When things are good, prosperous and promising, friends abound but when things get unfavourable, either through unavoidable human error, false cum malicious accusations, paucity of funds at one’s disposal, reducing influences, lose in an electioneering process or when political calculations fail, friends either stand aloof, malign, castigate or turn their backs.
Human beings, in the words of the elders, enjoy the sweet taste of hands soiled with palm oil soup but detest the sight of blood-stained fingers, to affirm that human beings are not absolutely dependable and reliable – it is ‘Hosanna’ today and ‘crucify’ Him tomorrow.
When Jesus Christ knew that His time was at hand, He opted to pray alongside His trusted allies called the Boarneges, that is the sons of thunder (Mark 3:16). He took them to Gethsemane to intercede for Him. Unfortunately, while He was busy praying and sweat was oozing from His body, His trusted ‘friends’ were sleeping. All His entreaties to them to lift Him up in prayers failed. That experience marked the beginning of the mother of all betrayals from His closest allies in the ministry, starting with Judas Iscariot who gave Him up for few pieces of silver (Luke 22:47), to His most trusted ally, Simon Peter, who had vowed to die with Him if the need arose but denied very bluntly on three occasions that he ever knew Him (Matthew 26:59-75).
The only companionship that Jesus Christ had for strength in His moment of agony and pain in that garden was not any of the Boarneges, who were His most dependable allies, but the angel of God who appeared to Him “…….from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43). The Garden of Gethsemane, besides being a real place in His time, still exists today as a place of tourist attraction in Jerusalem. It will however forever remain as a metaphor. The garden represents the limitedness of humans beings and the disappointments that always follow whenever things get awry. It also depicts God’s unfailing support and closeness to His children, even when all have forsaken and abandoned. Brethren, God is the only One that has promised never to, and will never, abandon or forsake His children, no matter what they are passing through (Isaiah 49:15-16).
Garden of Gethsemane is a place where close friends deny ever knowing one; it is a place where a person you have assisted in times past turns his back on you. It is a place where people that spoke nicely about you yesterday, have unprintable words for you today. The Garden of Gethsemane is a pavilion of betrayal of trust, a citadel of evil gang-ups and a fertile ground for falsehood. It is a place where vociferous and easily believable sons of Belial are employed to bear false witness against the innocent (Matthew 26:60; 1 Kings 2:10 cf 1 Kings 21:8-13).
On the other flip of the coin, the Garden of Gethsemane is the lowest point one can get to as a believer before a rise up. It is baseline for a lift up. Jesus Christ has assured that “… Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” ( John 12:24). David confirmed it that ” When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will pick me up” (Psalm 27:10). Gethsemane is the death point that leads to resurrection; it is that disappointment that leads to His appointment. It is the breaking pointing that heralds a divine rising. It is the seemingly ugly bridge that connects a person on a lower spot to destiny.
The Garden of Gethsemane is an unavoidable life situation that great men of faith had to ascend for divine lift up and place their feet on towards the realisation of their lives purposes. Abram encountered his Gethsemane with Lot (Genesis 14), Daniel faced his with the other Presidents of Babylon (Daniel 6), Shadrack and his friends were conspired against by rulers of the provinces in Babylon (Daniel 3), Joseph was betrayed and sold by his own brothers because of his ‘coat of many colours’ (Genesis 37) and Mordecai had issues that were predicated on envy from Haman (Esther 3:6; 5:9-14) among many others. The good news however is that for each of these people, their Gethsemane was the inevitable ingress that took them to the top. As the Lord lives, instead of going down, God will use your Garden of Gethsemane to move you to the next level in the name of Jesus.
For Jesus Christ, Gethsemane was the needed step to the right hand of God and a name with eternal supremacy over whatever is in heaven, on earth and below the earth (Philippians 2:8-11). After His betrayal and death on Good Friday, which was a time of Suffering of the Son was Easter Sunday which marked the supernatural intervention of the Father (Matthew 2:6; 1 Corinthians 15:4). When He arose, He was given the keys of hell and of death ( Revelations 1:18).
Are you facing hard times at home, work or church? Are people ganging up against you to discredit you in your family, among your friends, at work or in your commission? Are trusted and very close friends turning their back at you at your moment of needs? Are false witnesses rising up against you among the committee of your best friends? Are you being maligned unnecessarily? Is it that people you are to lean on have laced their palms with thorns? Is it that close friends that are supposed to assist blow off specks from your eye have pepper in their mouths to inflict more damaging harm? Brethren, don’t lose hope. You are already in your Garden of Gethsemane. I congratulate you because weeping may endure for a night but your joy is coming ( Psalm 30:5). As He lives, you shall never be put to shame. God shall terminate the challenges of this present night time and lead you to everlasting daytime of joy, peace, health and prosperity, in the name of Jesus.
Beloved in Christ, do you have people hovering around you and singing your praises today? Are you enjoying the attention of myriads of people around you at work, place of commission or the society? Do you feel that you are appreciated, loved and celebrated? I have news for you, you are yet to get to the Garden of Gethsemane. I appeal to you, please be ready for the Gethsemane experience. It is an unavoidable situation of life. It is a garden that you must necessarily get to before you can access where God has destined for you. And when the betrayals, disappointments, evil words and gang-up come from ‘friends’, don’t feel bad or be disappointed but rejoice in all because “better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Solomon in Ecclesiastes 11:8 spoke further about the certainty of Gethsemane that “… if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity”.
As we continue the Passion week today and we are on the verge of ending this year’s Lenten season, please be assured that no matter what you may be passing through now, every problem has an expiry date. After the suffering of Good Friday is the supernatural intervention of the Father on Easter Sunday. What you need to do is to put your trust in God, He would intervene in your circumstances, and give you reasons to celebrate and be celebrated in Jesus’ name.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for this Lenten season, give me grace to remain in you forever and always stand by me in my moments in Gethsemane, in Jesus’ name,