He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them

Luke 22:41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,

In John 13, when Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, we encounter a sad scene where disciples didn’t realize what Jesus was doing.

John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Was there a moment when you wanted the other person to know what’s going on? Let’s say you are going through a difficult moment in your life. Let’s say you are going through a heartache and pain. Maybe sometimes we don’t want anyone to know about it. But aren’t there times you wish someone to know about it?

How much better is it if someone can connect with you and accompany you when you are in the midst of trial and suffering? When you are crying, if someone cries with you, that really means a lot. Even when you laugh, if someone can share in your joy, it becomes even more joyful.

But when Jesus was about to face the cross, the disciples didn’t really get what was going to happen. Jesus explained many times. Yet, their eyes were closed. Their focus was off. In fact, the gospel writers mention about the fighting that arose among the disciples to find out who is the greatest of them all. That happens during the time of our Lord’s trial.

In Luke 22, we see a unique expression of the doctor recording a distance of ‘a stone’s throw beyond.’ It means Jesus set himself apart to go and pray to the father. However, we almost get to sense this distance in between the Lord and the disciples through this expression. Not just a mere physical distance, but this strangeness in between them. Although they are together, there is a distance. Although Jesus is going through the prayer of tears and sweating blood, disciples are falling asleep. There are this alienation and distance.

During this time of Lent, we ought to examine our hearts. Are we far away from the Lord? Is there a stone’s throw of distance between us and the Lord? Is our heart foreign to the love of the Lord and His broken heart?

We want to shorten this distance as much as possible. But that is not something that can be done with our sheer determination. Look at Peter, James, and John. Top disciples, yet they are stone’s throw away, falling asleep.

Later in Acts 4, however, we see them completely changed. Their hearts are synced with the Lord. What gives?

By God’s grace, they opened their eyes to the love of the cross. The meaning of the cross was clear in their hearts. The broken heart of the Lord was living inside of them. No longer the Lord’s love was foreign to them. His love was living inside them; they saw their wretchedness and clearly saw God’s love through Jesus when He emptied himself and gave his life for them. It was an unthinkable deed, but with love, Christ gave it all

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John Newton, who wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace,’ saw just that. In it, he says,

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved the wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

Jesus Christ died for us. For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only son. This is the love of God for you, for me, for us. We seek God’s grace to open our eyes so we see and experience this love. To know this love.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

Let’s seek God’s grace to open up our eyes to see His love clearly. Only by His love, we can shorten our distance, a stone’s throw distance, to disappear between us and our savior Jesus.

Father God, our heart is easily closed and dulled. We don’t feel your love and our focus is off. We are only concerned with worldly matters. It’s our flesh that distracts us so much. But we ask the Holy Spirit to work in us so that we seek your love. Let us experience your love and know it clearly during this time of Lent. And we ask that we too can carry the cross and together experience the glory of the resurrection. In Jesus’ name.