Gethsemane, Watch and Pray

This great book divides neatly into two. The first takes a long meditative look at Christ in Gethsemane and reads very well along with The Silence of God during the Passion; the second looks in general at the issue of temptation.

Jesus was faced with something terrible and dark at Gethsemane, something we might not immediately notice, darker even than the approach of Satan. He cites Zechariah, “Arise, sword and strike the shepherd!” but he changes it to God saying, “I [God] will strike the shepherd.” Daniel doesn’t feel able to comment at length on this, dark as it is; instead he focuses on 1. The amazing idea that God would share these sombre events with us. 2. Our weakness, exemplified in the sleeping disciples. 3. God’s help proffered to Jesus. 4. Jesus’ trust in the Father.

Chapter 2, while a general look at temptation, examines Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Daniel frequently prefers to focus on Mark’s account of an event, and does so here, though he compares it with the other gospels; Mark is very brief but his concision says a lot, and he is always making discreet allusions to the OT, an important one here being to Jesus as the scapegoat of Lev 16. How are we to overcome temptation? In the same way Jesus overcame Satan, but armed with his help.

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