Even Jesus Needed His Friends
He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” Mark 14:33-34
Whenever I struggle with something – particularly if I fail – my first instinct is certainly not to share it with anybody. My pride hates to admit weakness and in the shame of my failure, I’m embarrassed to tell anyone. So, I hide my flaws and weaknesses. I keep my sins locked in a closet where hopefully no one can see them. In my isolation, I find no support from those closest to me, because I don’t allow them to see my problems. So, I struggle – and fail – alone.
Jesus didn’t fail, but he did have very real human problems. In the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night of his arrest, Jesus wrestled with his own will. He knew that death on a cross was going to be horrible. In this knowledge, he was greatly distressed and troubled. Locked in a death-struggle with his own will, he gathered his closest friends, asking them to watch and pray with him. I’m struggling here. Please go through this with me. I don’t want to do it alone (my paraphrase).
The fact that his friends were terrible at being friends – they fell asleep – shouldn’t cause us to miss the lesson. When Jesus wrestled with obedience to God, he looked to those closest to him for support, companionship, and prayer.
We would do well to follow Christ’s example. Jesus wasn’t ashamed of the fact that he wrestled with his will. He didn’t allow his pride to prevent him from seeking help. He went to the disciples, explained the struggle, and asked them to go through it with him.
We weren’t made to do life on our own. We were made by God to live in community with others who also follow him. When we isolate and hide, we handicap ourselves. There is strength in sharing each other’s burdens, but that doesn’t happen automatically.
In my addiction, I isolated. Now, in recovery, I must purposefully meet weekly with other men who understand my struggle and who are going in the same direction I want to go. In doing so, we share our afflictions, following Jesus’ example, lightening our individual burdens. There is tremendous power in sharing our weaknesses with those who understand.