Soon after the ritual dinner had finished, Yeshua retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and wait for the inevitable. As the apostles waited by the gate to the garden, Yeshua went deeper inside.
Enveloped in silence, and overwhelmed in despair, Yeshua wept. “Why me, Father, and why now? Since the day I was baptized by John and walked in the desert, I knew this day would come. Not for one moment has this thought ever been in my mind. But did I ever hesitate, knowing my final destiny? No! Since I became aware of who I was, have I ever disobeyed you? Every day I prayed to you and each time I did, I asked you to take this cup of agony from my lips. Still, you turned away from me. What I don’t understand is how we share our one mind, our thoughts, and feelings, but I can’t understand why I must die for everyone’s sins? You are all powerful and all loving. With a blink of your eye, all can be forgiven. How will my suffering and death make any difference?”
Yeshua waited for an answer, but all he heard was a gentle breeze rustling through the leaves.
But in that moment of silence, the distant sound of familiar footsteps approaching greeted his ears. “You can stop hiding Mary. I know you’re out there.”
From the first day she had moved from Magdala to Nazareth, Mary befriended Yeshua and stood by his side. Today was no different. As Mary stepped out of the shadows, she found Yeshua prostate on the ground, deep in prayer. But when she saw the look of agony written on his face, Mary couldn’t help but to gasp.
Yeshua looks physically exhausted, and near the point of collapsing, she told herself. So much weight he bears on his shoulders. Why can’t any of his followers see that and ease his load? It’s so obvious, even to a fool’s eye. If only he would let me comfort him.
As Yeshua turned his eyes towards Mary, sweat poured off his forehead and dripped in his eyes. Burning with salt, Yeshua closed his eyes from Mary’s look of sorrow mixed with pity. The look, which had comforted him for so many years, was denied to him.
“Please, father, let this day pass by me like any other day.” As another moment of silence passed by, his shoulders slumped in defeat.
Mary walked up behind Yeshua and as she was about to touch his shoulder she pulled her hand back, as he replied, “Mary, I’m so afraid. Earlier, I thought I could get through this, knowing it’s God’s will, but now, I’m not so sure.”
Mary looked compassionately at Yeshua and simply said, “Yeshua, I love you. I have loved you for a long time, and I know you love me as well. If you wish, we could walk away and never look back. But before we do that, I ask you, do you think God’s love for you is less than our love for each other? God’s love for us is infinitely more than we could ever possibly love each other. Would he put you through this pain without having a great purpose for you to suffer? You told me yourself, we may not understand God’s plans, but that doesn’t make them wrong. Let go of your fears, Yeshua. Let God do with you as he wishes.”
Bitter were the herbs Mary had offered him, but he had swallowed them, knowing what Mary had said was true and through her words, Yeshua found comfort. He replied, “Thank you, Mary. You were the answer to my prayers.” With that, Yeshua stood and wiped the sweat from his brow. “Come, Mary. Let us pray with our brothers.”
But when they reached the apostles, Yeshua found them fast asleep. Realizing Yeshua was about to chastise his followers, not wanting to be part of the rebuke that was to follow, Mary retreated and hid in the shadows.
His words were sharp as a razor’s edge and cut deep into their souls, and when Yeshua was finished, the apostles were humbled and chastened. Frustrated with what had just occurred, Yeshua returned to the garden, and Mary followed in his footsteps.
Prophetic were the words Yeshua uttered as he stared towards the heavens. “My time may almost be over, but my mission is far from complete. My apostles are like lost sheep and their shepherd is about to abandon them. Someone needs to pray for them.”
Mary smiled. “Then pray.”
At first, Yeshua didn’t say a word. Instead, he returned to the spot where he knelled before, and resumed his ritual. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. When I am gone, watch over them and guide them through the Holy Spirit, if it is your desire. Your will, not mine.”
Hearing his heartfelt words, Mary knelt beside Yeshua and lost herself in prayer. It seemed as if an after an immeasurable amount of time passed before Yeshua took Mary’s hand and lifted her to her feet. They returned to the apostles and once again, found them sleeping. Mary stepped back into the shadows as Yeshua was about to awaken them, but before Yeshua could speak, the sound of voices broke the silence, and a moment later, Judas, followed by a squad of temple guards, stormed through the gate, barreling towards him.
Fearing for her safety, Mary slid through the shadows of the olive trees and hid deep in the garden. From there, she watched a horrific scene unfold. Helplessly, she watched Judas stop in front of Yeshua and grasp his shoulders. She could almost hear his voice uttering the word, master, as he kissed his cheek. Next, the temple guards rushed to Judas’ side and arrested Yeshua. The commotion awoke the apostles, and a skirmish began. It took only a few moments for them to see the futility of it and the apostles scattered like mice and disappear. The guards quickly dismissed the apostles and focused their attention on Yeshua. They bounded him and dragged him away. It was over.
Alone with her sorrows, Mary drowned in her tears. There was no hope for him now, she thought. The Sanhedrin would seek nothing less than death for Yeshua. For years, he had been a thorn in their side and now they had their chance for revenge.
It was too much to bear. So much she wanted to flee to Nazareth and never return to Jerusalem. But she couldn’t. Not yet. She had to be present when Yeshua was marched to Golgotha. There was no way she could abandon him now, not after all they had been through. Drawing every ounce of courage she could muster, Mary left the garden of agony and returned to Jerusalem. There she began to wait for the master.