Summary: You know that when people you love are facing a crisis, or someone’s about to die, or when great decisions are hanging in the balance – we do have times of intense prayer. And it was that way for Jesus in Gethsemane, too. (Powerpoints Available- #172)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #172.)
A. The Easter season might seem to be a simple one for preachers. After all, Palm Sunday commemorates His triumphal entry, & Easter Sunday celebrates His resurrection. So the logical thing to do for a couple of Sundays would just be to prepare sermons about those very well-known events & let it go at that.
But there was much that happened during Christ’s last week in Jerusalem. So today & next Sunday I’m going to jump over the triumphal entry & go directly to 2 of the locations that figure prominently in the events of Christ’s last night before His crucifixion - the Garden at Gethsemane & the house of Caiphas, the High Priest.
By the way, twice in the past few years Ethel & I have been in the Garden at Gethsemane , & scientists tell us that 3 of the olive trees we saw there were already a century or more old on that night when Jesus prayed there, somewhere near the spot where we were standing.
And we also walked up the same ancient steps, recently excavated at Caiphas’ house, that Jesus must have walked as the soldiers brought Him there for the illegal trials of the night. Next Sunday we’ll examine the house & grounds of Caiphas.
But this morning we’re going to talk about what happened in the Garden at Gethsemane , & our Scripture text is Matthew 26:36-56.
I. GETHSEMANE – A PLACE OF PRAYER
That passage begins with these words: “Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane…” And Luke 22:39 tells us, “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, & His disciples followed Him.”
Being in the Garden at Gethsemane was not something unusual for Jesus. When He was in Jerusalem this was where He usually went to pray. So when Judas went hunting for Jesus to betray Him, he knew just where to go. Jesus had gone “as usual” to the Garden at Gethsemane to pray.
ILL. Surveys have been conducted that indicate about 85% of all Americans say that they pray. Some pray a lot, & some not very much. But 85% of us say that we pray. In fact, 20% of self-proclaimed atheists & agnostics say that they pray, too. I’m not sure to whom they pray, but they say that they pray.
You see, God has offered us a source of strength through prayer, but too seldom do most of us use that power. So this morning, as we look at the Garden at Gethsemane , the place where Jesus prayed, may God help us to realize the power of prayer that He has so freely offered to us.
By the way, do you have a place that is your place of prayer? Is there a spot where, maybe early in the morning or during the day or late at night, you can go & be undisturbed as you pray?
Gethsemane was a place of prayer for Jesus. But it was more than that for Him.
A. First of all, for Jesus it was a place of privacy. Vs’s 36-37 tell us that as Jesus & 11 disciples reach the garden Jesus “… said to them, `Sit here while I go over there & pray.’ He took Peter & the 2 sons of Zebedee along with Him, & He began to be sorrowful & troubled.”