Christians know of what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane but do they ever really study this topic?
Before the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus had spent three years ministering to the people and training his disciples about what was important, what would happen to Him, and what to do after He died.
Jesus was sent to earth to fulfill a purpose. He was to sacrifice his life for all of us for our sins. He took all our sins and placed them on himself. He would die and rise so that others not only would be forgiven for their sins but that so His family/the church would get to spend eternity with Him.
Right before the Garden Jesus had spent the Passover meal with them and gave them instructions regarding communion, who would betray Him, and what was going to happen.
The Garden of Gethsemane was not a good time for Jesus. He faced horrible feelings in His prayers. He knew what was going to happen to Him, and He knew why He had come (to be able to give us eternal life with Him), but He knew the pain and suffering He would have to go through first.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He knew what was coming and was deeply troubled. After all, He was human and God. He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little further, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:36-39) Jesus was overwhelmed by what He was about to face.
As a human, Jesus knew he would die a painful death on the cross as a sacrifice for sin. He also knew that during this death He faced that He was going to be separated for some time from God, the Father. God the Father, for some time, would not help Him for Jesus came for a reason and to finish that purpose He would be separated for a time. God could not look upon the sin for which Jesus had placed upon Him. Jesus came to give us hope and a way to get to heaven. He had to suffer, die, and then be resurrected.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that his Father would take “this cup” from him if possible Jesus wanted to know if there was any way he could avoid what he was about to experience. Even though Jesus’ spirit was strong, his body trembled at what was to come.
Jesus, In my mind, I can’t even wrap my head around what He suffered even before He went to the cross. It is said that His sweat was drops of blood. Can you imagine Him taking the sins of everyone and putting them on Him and even though He wished there was another way…He accepted what He was going to go through. Why? For every one of us that would ever live that wanted the hope of heaven for us and our loved ones.
It was then Jesus’ flesh was starting to fail him, and he needed strength from his Father to complete his task. Luke records that at that time, the Father sent an angel to minister to him. An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:43-44) This is a documented condition we now call hematohidrosis, caused by extreme anxiety and stress. Again, I can’t even imagine just what my Lord felt at that moment in time.
Now to the three disciples, He brought with them. He goes back to them yet they were not keeping watch as He asked of them.
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41)
We, as humans, are not as strong as Jesus was, nor do we always understand those we love and what they are going through or what they will go through in life. Our minds might feel strong but our flesh is not always willing.
Jesus didn’t want His disciples to fall into temptation. He gave them a way that they would not have to, but just like most humans, they didn’t listen. His warning, I guess you could say fell on deaf ears for a season. Yet this was the very season that they needed to be strong. How many times has each of us fallen into some kind of temptation? We most likely didn’t see what was going to happen and I would venture to say that Jesus’ disciples just didn’t get it either. Do you wonder ever if only they had listened right then that their life would have taken a different turn? No, I am not talking about Jesus’ life taking a different turn. He came to die in our place, but I am talking about the fact that Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray so they wouldn’t falter. The disciples were on the verge of losing a great spiritual battle with the devil. All of us in our fights throughout our life need God’s strength to overcome, yet many times we just don’t go to Him for the very strength we need to be an overcomer.
Every day of our life things pop up before us. We can, if not strong in the Lord, be tempted and falter. Even Jesus’ disciples faltered. We live in a world of temptations, of dangers each day we are alive. Stuff happens. What we do with it matters. We need God’s strength each day just to make it safely to the next. The devil knows exactly what tempts each of us. Do you think he won’t use those things to bring us down? Of course, he will. He is a liar, cheat, deceiver, and murderer (not just of life but of relationships and other things as well). The devil wants to destroy our health, our marriage, our family, our jobs, our finances, and anything else he knows we falter from.
However, we, as children of God Almighty need to stay prayed up. Don’t just go to God and give a “give me” list. Pray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk to Him but then listen to Him. He always wants to be part of the conversation. When you feel tempted pray harder. We do not have to fall for the temptations that come our way. We can make it through them on the Strength of God. You will know more of what God means and says if you put down your phone, turn off the TV, stop running around….and each day spend some time with God. Doesn’t matter what time of the day you pray and talk to Him. Just do it! I do better in the morning because I am a morning person, but you might be a night person. You can pray anywhere and at any time. Do you ever pray in the shower? I do. It is not ungodly to pray there. It is quiet, and God visits me there as well. No one bothers me in the shower so that is a good place to have a conversation with God. (He knows what you look like) Do you think you can only pray in a certain place and in a certain way or God won’t hear you?
The devil is our adversary and, yes, he is strong, but he is never as strong as God is. The devil tosses out to us garbage we have fallen for in the past, but when Jesus is our Lord we can always stand up to him. The devil might make you seem like you are heading right into traffic, but God knows exactly how to change the lights.
We sure live in a time where lies, deceptions, corruption, danger at every turn, and just pure evil come our way. There is evil all around us. Many people can’t even go out in some towns, to have a good time with their families because in some towns it is downright dangerous to do so. We must watch what is going on around us all the time. The world is a very dangerous place and the Bible says it will get worse and worse. The devil knows his time is about up and he wants to destroy as many people as he can. Yet, so many are so deceived they have no clue what is happening to them and their family.
It is time to put on the armor of God. Don’t leave home without it. Don’t even go about your home without it either. Just as Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray He is telling us that also. (Ephesians 6:10-18 the Armor)
Back to the Garden: He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cup can’t be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. (Matthew 26:42-44) We might be thinking how could they do that to the Lord? Because they didn’t understand what was going to take place. They must not have felt the pain that their Lord was going through. Would we have felt it either? No! If those that walked with Him for three years didn’t get it at the time then we would not have either if we were there. We are here, and we have a Bible that tells us, but they didn’t. They spent day after day with the Lord, saw all He did, and yet when His pain began in that garden they didn’t get it. The Bible never tells us that in those moments Jesus prayed to His Father…that the Father answered Him. After all, this was why Jesus came. He would become a curse for us, and then He would be the victorious one on His resurrection. God did send an angel to help give Jesus strength in the Garden. God didn’t take away the pain and suffering that Jesus was about to face. Why? Because that is why Jesus came. He came to save you and me and to do He had to become sin for us for a season in that suffering and on that cross. Jesus knew what He had to do and why. Jesus then uttered his final prayer to the Father: “May your will be done.”
There is a hard pill to swallow for each of us. How, or what does this story of Jesus in the Garden mean for each of us and our life? We all pray when we are in trouble, hurting, or going through trials, tests, and so many disappointments in life. We hurt and when we do “THEN” we go to God and ask for His help. The only thing is God knows what needs to be done. We might not agree with the answer God gives us, or the way in life He takes us, but the Father’s will is always what we should want, whether or not he grants our request. Sometimes the very things we want in life are not the journey God wants us to go down that road. Sometimes God says wait, or I have a better way for you, and sometimes He just plain says no. Think about your kids for a moment. If they want something that will hurt them now or in the future would you give it to them just because you can, or would you do what is best for them? Everything our children want in life is not good for them.
At this, Jesus returned to the three disciples, found them sleeping again, and woke them. “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” (Matthew chapter 26:45-46) Oh my gosh…sounds like a wake-up call doesn’t it? The Lord had asked something of His most trusted disciples and they not only didn’t listen in the Garden those three times but just didn’t understand yet. Even at the Passover meal when Jesus told them the one that dipped the bread would betray Him…didn’t get that either at the time. They just thought Judas was going on some errand for the Lord. Sometimes things are right in front of us and we just don’t see, want to see it, or even believe them.
Well, here comes a crowd. I’d venture to say they didn’t come quietly either. And there was Judas…the betrayer, leading the way. After all, Judas knew exactly where Jesus would be for they went there a lot. While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus, and arrested him. (Matthew 26:47-50)
Can you even really imagine this scene? Judas, one of the 12 goes and with a kiss betrays our Lord. Jesus wasn’t hiding for this is why He came, but whoa to Judas the betrayer of our Lord and Savior. Judas knew Jesus and the love Jesus had and yet he fell. Jesus was at the point now of drinking the cup for which He came to earth to do.
Some might even ask why didn’t God, the Father, answer Jesus’ request to take this away. Because that is exactly why Jesus came, and if Jesus didn’t gone through with this…we would never get to heaven. Jesus had to die this death…but the best part is Jesus was resurrected and is in heaven and we have hope that when our time is up we will get to be with Him in heaven. God did answer the prayer of Jesus that day just now the way Jesus would have liked Him to, but the very way that was necessary to bring us to Him. The Father’s first answer was silence, indicating that Jesus had to die. But Jesus nevertheless submits to the Father’s plan, and willingly goes to his death. Read that again: Jesus submitted to the will of God the Father and did what He needed to do to save us.
Jesus had a mission when He came to earth. He was only on this earth for a short 33 years. That might seem like a long time to many people but it wasn’t even a blink to God. God doesn’t live in our timing and rules of them. Jesus knew he was going to sit before mankind and be tried when He was innocent. He went through the pain, the hate, the persecution, and all of the suffering for me…and for you. My Jesus is Amazing. Jesus submitted to God, the Father, and even though this task was horrible…He still did it. God didn’t reject His Son, Jesus. Jesus died to save us and to give us the ability to reach heaven. Oh, we can still reject Him and miss heaven, but each of us has the opportunity to go there. We don’t make it then it was to our own choices in life and the rejection of our Lord. You have had many chances to choose Jesus as your Lord. You don’t have to accept Him but I always wonder why anyone would choose the devil and hell over a loving Lord who did all He could to save them from that place.
A question for each of us to think about: If you don’t get what you want when you want it, and in your timing…do you walk away from God? We, as humans, want what we want yesterday even if what we want is not really what we need. Sometimes…we just need to wait on God or change the direction God is taking us.
During his ministry the apostle Paul had a severe ailment—a “thorn in the flesh.” And three times Paul asked God to take it from him, just as Jesus asked three times. God’s answer to Paul was not silence but: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) We are not told exactly what that thorn was but God said no. God had a greater purpose for the apostle’s suffering. Even in our sufferings in life we want God to take them. Sometimes He does, but I think sometimes He is saying the same thing to each of us as well. We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Though we may ask God to spare us from our pains, he may or may not grant our request. This does not mean that God is not there for us for He always is there. We just might have to go through things in life we don’t want to go through. The thing is we know the end of the book and we win!
In the Garden and what happened to our Lord, we might think is tragic. However, had He not done this we truly would have no hope. Can you imagine what Jesus gave up in heaven to even come to earth for a time? There are no thanks I can give my Lord Jesus to thank Him for what He did for me and for everyone I care about. But, and I say but, because my part is to love Him, submit to Him, tell others about Him, and pray diligently that I would overcome whatever gets tossed my way. The best part of my life was meeting the Lord. Because of meeting Him, I was given a wonderful spouse and a wonderful family, and I thank Him for that. I pray you to feel that same way about those you love. This story on the Garden is not complete here, so as you study it…add to it. Our Lord Jesus is amazing and I am so thankful He came into my life.