Hello brothers and sisters,
We will be reading through a very powerful and instructive passage, the one describing the agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. In it, we have our perfect example of the way we ought to pray at all times and circumstances. Jesus, who was so distressed in the garden that his sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44), was about to face the most painful, and shameful, death imaginable. He was about to be crucified by cruel, merciless Roman Soldiers. Men who were specifically trained to make the condemned suffer the most horrific pain imaginable, as an attempt to squash others from rebellion against the empire. The irony being, of course, that the soldiers crucified an innocent man on this particular day. One who was not in rebellion against the Roman empire. In fact, One who had never rebelled at all, in any way, period. For His entire life!
But it isn’t just the physical torture of crucifixion that Jesus had to deal with, which would be enough to make anyone recoil in terror. And it wasn’t just the physical beatings, the mocking, the spitting, the mock trial, the crown of thorns, and the many false accusations. Don’t get me wrong. These things are all wicked crimes against the Son of Man. But far worst than all of the physical and emotional suffering from the hands of evil men, was the spiritual pain that Christ would endure. Jesus, the Holy One of God, is about to have the sin of the world laid upon Him on the cross. In addition, He knows that He must drink the “cup” of God’s wrath to accomplish this work. This “cup” was what prompted Him to cry out, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46) Should we even have to ask why He desired for this cup to pass?
But ultimately, the Father would not let this cup pass. He could not. For this was the reason Jesus came to earth, to glorify God in accomplishing redemption for His people on the cross. He came to do the will of the Father. And that desire, to do God’s will, is never shown more clearly than in this prayer. Despite the physical and spiritual agony He knew was coming, Jesus, “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2) Also, Christ reminds us here how important prayer is in fighting temptation. If the 2nd Person of the Trinity (who had no sin nature) prayed in such a desperate way, then how much more should we be agonizing in prayer over our struggles and temptations?
Remember, God answered the prayer of Jesus! Don’t let anyone ever tell you He didn’t. The Father always hears the Son. For Jesus prayed, “Not My will, but Thy will.” That prayer was answered in a big way. Jesus was a different man as He exited the garden.
The first Adam once failed miserably inside of a lush, beautiful garden. He decided that his own will was more important than God’s. But thanks be to God for the second Adam! He was also once tempted inside of a lush, beautiful garden. Severely tempted. But unlike the first Adam, Jesus never once failed to do God’s will! He passed every test with flying colors.
39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”