He knew what was coming.
He knew what was coming when He first set foot in the garden, breathing in the fresh scent of flowers and speaking to His Father. And He knelt in the soil and felt the grass He Himself had created, listening as the birds chirped their praise.
He knew what was coming when He took the twelve to the garden for the first time, when He sat down on the gnarly roots to tell them about His love. And He rubbed a small olive in between His fingers, laughing at the jokes of Simon Peter, chuckling at the earthly naivety of His closest friends and enjoying their presence.
He knew what was coming as He watched Judas first behold the beauty of the garden, feeling the peace and tranquility of His Master's favorite place. Even as He greeted Judas and the others, with a smile and a parable, He knew what was coming.
He knew what was coming on those late nights when He retreated to the garden, spending hours praising His Father. And He prayed for strength and He prayed for the twelve and He prayed for the people who daily approached Him with such broken and sinful hearts.
He knew what was coming when He went to the grove for solace and the disciples came and found Him. "Come on," He motioned to them when their faces peered over the garden walls: "Come be with me." And on other days, they would go to Gethsemane for a lunchtime-message. Jesus would explain the ways of the Kingdom as they passed a vine of grapes around the circle, bewilderment in their eyes. "But, how?!" Matthew would ask with wonder, and Jesus would smile and explain. And then He would take a break to eat some bread. He would listen to the stories of the men as they sat in the shade of the cypress trees, and His heart would burst with joy as their faith grew and their eyes were opened. Even then, He knew what was coming.
And on that night, when His countenance was troubled. When He took Peter, James and John aside, asking them if they would come to the garden one more time. And it had been a long night and they were tired, but how could they not go with their Jesus? So they all agreed to make the trek with Him. And their sandals kicked up dust as they made their way in silence, wondering why the kind face of their Savior was pained with anguish. Once in the garden, He asked them to stay and pray, and strode ahead into a smaller grove of trees. But the night wore on and they went to find Him. "Abba Father," they heard Him cry out. Confused and afraid, they went back to their post to pray. But sleep set in before long and they slumped in a pile, amongst the trees and the moonlight. Yes, even then He knew.
And as He wakened them once, He squeezed in one more lesson. For He knew how their faith would soon be tested. And as He saw the familiar face of Judas Iscariot, cresting the hill, His mind went back to that first day when they first entered Gethsemane. It all culminated in this moment, this ultimate act of love. And Jesus received the kiss.
Even more, He received all the blows and hatred we deserve, in that same place where He had built his brotherhood and had fellowship with the Father. And in humility, He received it all. For this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us. (1 John 4:10).
His love reached deeper than depth of human understanding, to get to know us and love us and take our place on that cross, even when He knew.
*This fictional account is based on the scriptures of Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-53 and John 18:1-4.