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023. Jesus’ Agonizing Prayer in Gethsemane

ZwPI8cfkJesus’ Agonizing Prayer in Gethsemane

About 5 minutes, from Matt. 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 18

Participants (No need to memorize lines; the aim is to relive sacred events, not to perform)
Peter
Voice (
of Jesus)
    
Prompter    Shout a brief line and Echoes repeat it.
Echoes
         Children and all adults who want to take part. Echoes need no script.

Peter

I’m the apostle Peter. For me, this is a very, very fearful night!

Prompter & Echoes

Terrifying!

Peter

Jesus is leading us to a secluded spot
up on the Mount of Olives.
King David also passed through this same Kidron valley
shedding tears, when his son Absalom and close friends
betrayed him.
Like David, Jesus has also looked down from here
on the great city with a heart filled with deep sorrow.

Prompter & Echoes

Jerusalem! Jerusalem!

Peter

The last rays of sunset caress the city’s roofs.
We come to the Garden of Gethsemane,
and Jesus sighs heavily.

Voice

Peter, James, and John, come with me,
deeper into this garden.

Peter

Like the Garden of Eden, it is the place of terrible testing.

Voice

My soul grieves to the point of death!
Watch while I pray,
and pray that you will not fall into temptation.

Prompter & Echoes

Watch and pray!

Peter

Jesus goes a stone’s throw beyond and falls face down,
distressed and horrified.

`Voice

Abba! Father! If it is possible, let this hour pass me by.
Abba! Father! All things are possible for you;
remove this cup from me.
Yet not what I will, but what you will.

Peter

Jesus returns to find us asleep;
sorrow swallows up his tormented soul.

Voice

Peter, could you not keep watch for an hour?

Prompter & Echoes

The most crucial hour ever!

Peter

Had I watched, I’d have seen flaming torches
leaving the city walls.
But I slept! I slept while the bravest man who ever lived
wrestled with a terrible choice. The atoning blood of every
Passover lamb and every bull sacrificed
since Adam becomes effective
only if Jesus agrees to bear the sins of all humanity.

Voice

Watch, Peter. The hour is near.

Peter

Again, Jesus goes and prays the same agonizing words.
He comes back and – can you believe it?
He again finds us sleeping!
Oh what shame! ur eyes are so heavy! But that is no excuse.
Jesus prays a third time, and returns.
Oh no! Not again! We are snoring!

Voice

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Peter

Had we been awake, we’d have seen the flickering torches
snaking their way across the Kidron Valley and up the mountainside, tracing our steps.

Prompter & Echoes

Closer and closer!

Peter

I did not yet grasp the terrible gravity
of this moment’s verdict!
Every shameful act and thought, yours and mine,
is in the venom that the serpent’s accusing fangs
will soon inject into Messiah’s veins while he hangs,
 tortured, on the blood-soaked cross.

Voice

Calvary’s cruel cross!

Peter

Sin’s filth will penetrate, searing,
scalding the soul of the son of God.
The full, excruciating, lethal dose, the essence of the sins
of all humanity, as foretold ages before!
Oh, the horror of this night!
But I slept!

Prompter & Echoes

Such anguish!

Voice

Peter, you still rest? Enough! This is the hour of darkness.
The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Get up!

Prompter & Echoes

The traitor is coming!

Peter

We join the other disciples and look down the slope.
Torches! Many, many torches, coming closer and closer!
Oh, they have weapons! My stomach knots in fear.
Hear the angry mob and vengeful priests scream with fury.

Prompter & Echoes

Where’s that rebel?

Peter

Look! Judas is leading the officers of the chief priests.
How can Judas do this? He is one of Messiah’s chosen twelve!
Judas is walking right up to Jesus! Oh! He is kissing Jesus!
Is it a signal? Now Jesus is speaking to the soldiers.

Voice

Whom do you seek?

Prompter & Echoes

Jesus of Nazareth.”

Voice

I AM.

Peter

  “I Am!” Moses heard that Name at the burning bush
when God revealed His eternal identity!
The soldiers fall back!
I draw my sword and strike off the ear
of the High Priest’s servant.

Voice

Put up your sword, Peter.

Peter

Jesus surrenders himself to them!
We disciples all flee, abandoning the Son of God.
Jesus has sealed his own fate, to save us from our sins.
He will suffer the depths of God’s wrath
and judgment in our place.

Prompter & Echoes

For our salvation!