As the night fell, Jesus and the disciples headed for the Garden of Gethsemane.
It must have been a bewildering evening for the disciples. Jesus had washed their feet and fed them, which was shocking behaviour for a rabbi, and unheard of for a king. I’m sure they were used to Jesus doing things that were unexpected, but none of them could be prepared for what was coming before this long night in the second Garden would be over.
I imagine that as they were walking to the Garden, the disciples must have been mulling over the events of the evening in their minds. For Peter, it had been a hard night already. He’d told Jesus in no uncertain terms that he’d rather die than disown Him. But Jesus had told him the truth that before the morning came, Peter would deny Him three times.
I’m deeply moved by this moment in the Scripture still. I have no idea what tone of voice Jesus used, but I can’t imagine it was easy for Peter to hear what was coming. Even more, Jesus knew exactly what the rest of that night would hold… not just Peter’s denial, but the betrayal of Judas and the scattering in fear of the others.
He knew all of it was coming. He knew that He was going to the cross for ones who’d deny Him, leave Him, and even betray Him.
He knew it all, and yet He walked into the darkness of that night towards the second Garden and all that would follow.
He had no illusions about the nature of who He was saving.
He still doesn’t.
He knows us all. He knows us more intimately than even we know ourselves.
Jesus knew all the lies, betrayals, broken promises, and selfishness that would come, not just that night, but across history from all us, and still He chose us when He chose the cross.
He walked into all of our darkest nights and paid everything so that morning could come again for all of humanity.
People sitting out their lives in the dark saw a huge light; sitting in that dark, dark country of death, they watched the sun come up. Matthew 4:16 (The Message)
But before He left with the disciples for that second Garden, they sang together.
Both Matthew and Mark’s account say that after they’d eaten, Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn and then went out to the Mount of Olives. They were headed for the second Garden, but more than that, Jesus was heading towards the kiss of betrayal that would lead Him to the cross and the burden of all that we’ve done.
Still, even in that moment, Jesus joined in one of the most beautiful marks of humanity: music. He shared in our most beautiful creations just as He would carry our darkest horrors and shames, bearing our sorrow and our sin on a cross.
He entered in to our lives and embraced our humanity, with all its wonder and all its darkness, just as He joined in with the disciples in that song on that darkest of nights.
I’ve always wondered what song they sang.
Easter means that one day, I’ll ask Him face to face.