From Despair to Joy — Murl Baker Lenten devotional for March 15, 2022

Read Matthew 26:36-40:

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?

Read Matthew 28:8-10:

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus.

In the first reading we see Jesus in deep anguish, in despair of what lay ahead. In the second reading, the women visiting the tomb of Jesus find it empty. Matthew records their emotions as fear turning to happiness as their understanding of the event grew.

In today’s world it’s easy to despair about where we are now and where we are going. Jesus understands despair: hopefully better than any of us will experience. Out of the despair of Jesus on the Mount of Olives, we find our salvation.  Jesus’s mercy brings joy to our hearts and souls. In celebration, joyfully sing all the verses you can remember of “Amazing Grace”.