Jesus Prays In The Garden Of Gethsemane
We come now to the Garden of Gethsemane. Following the last supper, Jesus sensing the need to pray and strengthen himself against the avalanche of coming events takes his disciples with him to a secluded spot on the mount of Olives about a half mile from the city wall. By now it was probably near midnight on the Thursday of Passover week. He asks them to remain at the entrance while he takes three of his closet companions, Peter, James, and John in toward the center. He asks them to sit there will he moves about a stones throw away to pray all by himself.
If you remember the movie, "The Passion of the Christ," the opening scene showed the agony of Jesus, surrounded by darkness and foreboding shadows in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This is a deep and mysterious passage of Scripture that contains things hard for us to figure out, yet, upon its surface there are plain teachings that are very important for us to understand and apply to our own lives today.
I. THE MYSTERY OF HIS SUFFERING v.32-34
"he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.
'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.'"
"And being in anguish . . . his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." Luke 22:44. Blood was forced from his veins by the agony and pressure within.
Why was he in such distress?
Not because of the fear of crucifixion or a painful death.
Many had faced excruciating pain with bravery. Foxes Book of Martyrs many courageous men and women who were literarily tortured to death.
There was something else that caused this suffering of soul.
It was the clear vision he had of taking upon himself the worlds sins, of paying the price for sin, of being alienated from God encapsilated in that moment when he cried our on the cross, "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”" Mk 15:34
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Co 5:21
We ought to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
Sin must be a horrible thing if it requires the agony and suffering of such a God/man like Jesus Christ to wipe it's affect out.
His suffering was not great because of the quantity of sin he had to die for, it was do to the evilness and wickedness of sin, irrespective of its quantity.
Those outside of Christ, will experience this same anguish for all eternity.
"This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Mt 13:49-50
Night can intensify our suffering and bring with it a sense of foreboding and fear.
Gethsemane represents primarily the spiritual actions we need to take in the face of our premonitions about the future.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Mt 6:34
II. THE CONFLICT OF GOD'S WILL v.35-36
The true nature of his "suffering" and the "conflict of his will" with the Father's is a great mystery to us. We are confused by it primarily because of the impossibility for us to understand the implications of the union of his two natures. As we all agree, Jesus was both God in the flesh and a man at the same time. The two natures were not just mixed together to make a separate whole like what would happen when you put both cranberries and an apple together and get Granapple. When we study all the relevant passages in the Bible on the union of God and man in Jesus Christ we conclude that Jesus must be 100% man and 100 % God. That doesn't make sense to our natural mind, but the truth is clearly reveal in Scriptures.
When we see Jesus having a conflict of will with the father it is hard to sort it all out and to answer all the questions that could be asked.
The best we can do is to say that in some way the holy humanness Jesus was so repulsed by the vision of being made sin, that he truly preferred not to got through with the cross.
The substance of his prayer
"He prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him." That portion of time.
"Take this cup from me." The quantity of suffering required to redeem sinner
"You don't know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup (of suffering)" Mt 20:22-23
"everything is possible for you."
If it is possible to redeem the world without passing through this hour of suffering and death, than let this hour passed by.
"Yet not what I will, but what you will."
He chose the high purpose of God rather than abandoning it from regard to the fears of his human nature. It is right to seek deliverance. We must submit cheerfully to the will of God, confident that in all these trials he is wise, and merciful, and good.
Jesus is greatest desire, from the beginning of his life, was the execution of the Father's will. All that well appointed for Jesus, no matter what its severity, Jesus will do.
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." Jn 6:38
Show his submission "Going a little further, he fell to the ground and prayed." v.35
"Abba, Father,” he said"
"During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission." Heb 5:7
We all experience this conflict of wills
In our natural state, we are incurably self-centered and self-willed. By nature we want our own way.
"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way." Is 53:6
Rebellion from God has planted a powerful drive of opposition and resistance towards authority within the heart of man.
It is from this place in the human heart, that energy wells up causing us to revolt against our parents, the government, our employers, and those in authority over us.
When a person comes to Christ the self-will is broken and new desires are implanted.
When a person walks closely with God, it changes the mood, and the person lives in proper adjustment to what he formally rebelled against. J Have you watched the "God Whisperer" Caesar Malan? He talks all the time about getting your dog in a "calm and submissive state." It is form that state that your dog will thrive with the best kind of life.
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Ps 51:17
King David, "I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." Ps 40:8
"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God" Ps 143:10
Jesus taught us to pray, "This, then, is how you should pray: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Mt 6:9-10
We still struggle between choosing God's will and our own
We think this struggle has to do primarily with the big issues of life.
If God wants us to become a missionary and if he speaks us as clearly as he did Paul on the Damascus Road we tell ourselves we would probably say yes.
Actually, our struggle with doing the will of God has to do with our simple everyday lives.
If we can't do his will in the small things we will never be able to do his will in the big things. We are just kidding ourselves if we think we can.
God's will for us is found in Biblical commands and the directions of Scripture.
"Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?" Lk 6:46
God's will for us has a lot to do with our moral lives.
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,"
Gods' will for us often comes to us through divine providence.
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Pr 16:9
The belief that God is actually involved behind the scenes of life's events. Response of acceptance.
Leading of the Holy Spirit
"those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." Ro 8:14
We have come to learn how important God's will is and we close our prayers with this expression, "Not my will but yours been done."