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Matthew 26:36-56

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The Culmination

Jesus said the Son of man would be handed over to be crucified. John the Baptist had foreseen it. “Look”. he said, “the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”. Three plus years Jesus taught, healed, and cared for the people. Now we come to the final acts of service. Jesus had to die so that through His death, those who have painted the doorframes of their hearts would come to know true freedom.
Tragic events ahead are not so tragic if we keep in mind that this was God’s plan all along. Usually when tragedy strikes our lives we think of God almost as a last resort. We try to manage the situation ourselves. We can learn from Jesus’ actions that he has taken to prepare. 3 Prayers. 3 opportunities to hear God speaking. 3 opportunities to be instructed on His will. 3 times to pour His heart out to the One who listens.
#1 Arriving at the garden, Jesus asks the disciples to do what? What was the disciples response, and what was Jesus’ response?
Jesus is “exceedingly sorrowful”, we can relate to the immense sorrow when we lose a loved one but can you relate to His sorrow?
Jesus asked to be separated and to pray. Keeping watch while praying. the disciples instead could not keep their eyes open and fell asleep. Jesus was perturbed that they could not even do what He asked for an hour.
Again Jesus asks them to pray so that they not be enter into temptation.
#2 What temptation do you suppose they were in jeopardy of ?
Jesus was calling the disciples to spiritual vigilance. Not merely staying awake to pray. Jesus gave us the example back when Satan tempted Him shortly after fasting for 40 days. Physical self-control, it is necessary to avoid being led into sin to deny Jesus.
One hour of prayer ...they could not muster up more than a meager effort. Makes me think of all the times I sit and pray and can’t manage sometimes more than 5 minutes without my mind wandering. Jesus again goes to pray for a second time. he acknowledges in His prayer the “it is not possible’. He came to reaffirm his desire to carry out the job despite the cost of His life.
Finally, the third prayer time comes and the disciples failed each time to be spiritually vigilant. it is a foreshadowing of the three times Peter denies Christ. Done with the time of prayer Jesus tells the disciples it is time for the betrayal. I this hour jesus is seized as the shepherd and the flock is scattered. All as Jesus prophesied.
#3 What steps can you take to prevent the temptation of fleeing from God’s will?
I must pray really hard to be submissive to Him. I am often stubborn and impulsive. these are qualities that are not always conducive to subjecting myself to another’s will. Asking for the Holy Spirit to break my will, and break my need for taking control from the One who knows what is best.
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