You would never have planned it this way, but there he was. You happened to be strolling through the park one evening when you saw him, kneeling in intense prayer a little ways off. There was something striking about this man that drew you closer and as you watched his lips move you wondered what could be weighing on this man’s heart. You could see the beads of sweat forming around his forehead and dropping to the ground. What was going through his mind? What was he struggling with that he came to the Lord with such fervent prayers?

It wasn’t until several days later, when Jerusalem was abuzz with excitement about the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth that you realized you had the honor of witnessing the prayers of Jesus hours before he was put to death.

We owe a debt of thanks to the writers of the gospels because through them we were with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and we know exactly what was going through his mind when he fell to the ground, crushed by the burden of what he was about to do. We know how he opened his mouth to plead before his Father that the cup of wrath he was about the drink would be taken away from him. We know how he suffered! We know the great tribulation our Good Shepherd passed through to earn us forgiveness.

Christ was no stranger to tribulation, and neither are we. We may not carry the weight of God’s punishment against sin on our shoulders, but we encounter our own things that press us down, that squeeze us until we wonder if we can take it anymore. The question is: how are we going to handle it? Where does our courage come from? Well it doesn’t come from inside of us. It comes from a tomb which does not contain a dead Jesus but is a living witness to the reality of what Jesus did. This living Jesus has washed us with his blood and will guard and shepherd us through this great tribulation until we join believers from every nation, tribe and language in the eternal joy and comfort of heaven.

Revelation 7:14, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."