Summary: Jesus prays for deliverance from 'this cup' but submits to the Father's will, and the disciples still struggle with understanding what is going on...
39 He went out and made His way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. 40 When He reached the place, he told them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation” 41 Then He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray, 42 “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me-nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When He got up from prayer and came to the disciples, He found them sleeping, exhausted from their grief. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” He asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation.”
We have now reached the beginning of the passion event of Christ. All things leading up to this moment had been pointing to this event. Jesus had on several occasions spoken on how He would have to suffer and die.
The disciples were still NOT able to grasp what Jesus was talking about. So many of us judge these men for their dim view of Jesus and their seeming lack of faith… but we need to understand that we have the advantage of viewing history through the lens of the Cross of Calvary.
We KNOW what happened… they did not have that luxury. They had SEEN great things, but they simply did not understand what Jesus was trying to tell them.
We pick up the story as Jesus and the disciples are leaving the upper room after they had celebrated the traditional Passover meal, and Jesus had instituted the Lord’s Supper observance AND Jesus had dropped a bombshell on them… He had told them that someone at the table was going to betray him.
One thing that Luke does not mention here is the departure of Judas after Jesus’ declaration that someone would betray Him. Matthew actually relates a conversation between Jesus and Judas, where Judas asks Jesus, “Is it me Lord?” wanting to know if Jesus knew what he had ALREADY done… Jesus answers him, “You have said so…”
In John the conversation is a bit different as Jesus says it’s the one who I give the bread… Jesus gives Judas the bread and tells him, ‘What you do… do it quickly!’ and still the disciples did not see what was going on… as they thought Jesus had told Judas to go and buy something for the feast.
39 He went out and made His way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. 40 When He reached the place, he told them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation”
One implication we can draw from this is that Jesus was focused! He was determined and purposeful in His actions, wavering NOT to the right or left but always straight… purposeful… determined.
Another implication to this verse is Jesus’ admonition for His disciples to pray… prayer is NOT about what you need to tell God! But prayer is for the believer, and when the believer is lost and does not know what to do prayer connects us with God. It strengthens our spirit, it gives us focus, and alerts us to spiritual road blocks and potholes…
But what we need to know is that at this time when Jesus and the disciples were departing the upper room and headed for the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt of Olives) or as Luke names it… ‘the place’… what we do know is that Judas is NOT with them.
The disciples were reeling at this point as Jesus had told them that He would be betrayed and that Peter was going to deny Him, not once, not 2 times but 3 times before the night was done. We can get a sense that ALL of them were frightened, confused and a bit bewildered by all this news… and to beat that, Jesus is not making any moves to leave Jerusalem.
Jesus is out in plain sight, Jesus is doing what He had been doing since He arrived back in Jerusalem. Our passage tonight tells us that they left headed out to the Mt of Olives as was His custom… or as He usually did… READ Luke 21:37
This was the information that Judas uses to ‘betray’ Jesus as this is where he knew Jesus and the disciples would be after they left the upper room.
Jesus’ instruction to His disciples seems strange on the surface, but when we look back to His teaching and warning in the upper room… and the events that loom on the near horizon for the disciples, we can see plainly WHY Jesus would instruct them to pray in this manner. He wanted them to be prepared.