In [Jesus’] anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. (Luke 22: 44)
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knows the soldiers will soon be coming to arrest him. He knows His dearest friends will run away and abandon Him. He knows He needs to die to fulfill His mission.
Even though Jesus always knew and accepted that He had to give His life for us, He was in great anguish at the threshold of death. Just imagine the questioning and struggling He went through that night. “Father, is there any other way?” “Will my sacrifice really make things right between you and the rest of your children?” “How heavy will the sins of the whole world feel?” “Since you cannot abide with sin, will you leave me to face this moment by myself?” “Will I ever see you again?”
Although this was a horrific night for Jesus, this night can give us great consolation. Like Jesus, we all have our own dark nights. These are the nights when we face our sins and brokenness; the nights when we hear the Accuser telling us to give up; the nights when we feel alone and overburdened and misunderstood and unloved and lost.
The great consolation that Jesus can give us from His dark night to our own dark nights is this: there is no part of the human condition—no despair, no fear, no betrayal, no degradation, no doubt—that He did not experience then and will not share with us. Even though Jesus faced His own dark night alone, He never wants us to face our own dark nights without Him.
During His own dark night, it was like Jesus was sweating blood. On our own dark nights when it feels like we are sweating blood, I encourage us to trust and hold fast that the hand of Jesus is at our brow, catching our tears, holding us in our anguish. Just as the Father brought Him through that dark night, so we can trust that Jesus will do the same for us.
- When have you had to face your own dark nights? What led you to be in those lonely and difficult places?
- Whether or not you once felt the presence of Jesus, looking back, can you now see that He was actually with you and that you weren’t alone?
- When I remember my own dark nights, I see that I had to go through them to learn certain things about God and myself. Have you ever learned anything when you felt like you were sweating blood?