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An Evening of Prayer - Three Days Until Easter

How did Jesus prepare on the night before the crucifixion? He prayed. In fact, he prayed several times that last night. He encouraged his disciples to “watch” and to “pray” - is he asking us to do the same?

On that last Thursday night, Jesus knew that within a few hours he would undergo brutal and intense physical suffering. Crucifixion was one of the cruelest forms of torture the Roman government had in its arsenal, and Jesus was about to experience the full measure of it. He would be mocked, beaten, spit upon, whipped, stabbed with thorns, nailed to a cross and mercilessly left to die. None of this was lost on Jesus, he knew exactly what was coming. By the end of the night, his soul was in agony. So why did he do it?

God wants your friendship, and Jesus is the door to that wonderful relationship.

Earlier that night, Jesus shared a Passover meal with his closest followers. During that meal, he took bread, blessed it, and gave it to his friends saying, “this is my body.” He took the cup and offered it saying, “this is my blood... shed for many... for the remission of sins.” Jesus was planning to take the consequence for our sin. John’s Gospel calls Jesus “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” The Bible includes sacred writings, from centuries before, that foretold Jesus’ suffering as follows: “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities... and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)  

So how did Jesus prepare himself for what was in store? He prayed. In fact, he prayed several times that last night. No surprise there, his followers were aware that Jesus spent a good deal of time in prayer. John’s Gospel records one of those final prayers in detail (John 17). In that very beautiful prayer, Jesus prayed for his followers - the ones who followed him then and the ones who would come to follow him later on. He prayed that all of his followers would enjoy close fellowship with Jesus and with his heavenly Father; so close that all would feel as one. God wants your friendship, and Jesus is the door to that wonderful relationship.

After praying for his followers, Jesus had that famous prayer session at Gethsemane. Encouraging his disciples to “watch” and to “pray,” he took a few steps away from them and began to pray about the difficult situation he was facing. The accounts of that prayer session are intense, they vividly describe Jesus’ agony and they give us a glimpse of Jesus’ great faith and resolve to fulfill his mission.

Jesus believed in prayer. Throughout his ministry he prayed. He encouraged his disciples to pray. And when facing his biggest challenge, Jesus spent time in prayer.

Prayer is important

Prayer is an important part of the Easter story.  Let’s remember to pray!

Dear Father, Thank you for Jesus’ example. Thank you that Jesus came to serve. Thank you that Jesus came to take the punishment for my sin and to make a way for me to have access to you. Now help me to find and to accept the close relationship with Jesus and with you, that close relationship that Jesus prayed his followers would have. Guide my thoughts over this Easter season and help me understand all that Easter means. Amen

Get to know God this Easter

Getting to church this Easter isn't an option, but that doesn't mean we can't still reach out to God. Watch, pray, and read the Bible. Here are several chapters and passages to help you dig in on the story of who Jesus is, and what his last hours were like.

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