Summary: This is about Jesus praying in the Garden.
Passion Week Act 5 Praying
After the Last Supper, Jesus and 11 disciples left the Upper Room and headed to the Garden of Gethsemane. On the way, Jesus told them that they would abandon him, and Peter would even deny Jesus three times.
Read Matthew 26:36-46.
We have a vivid picture in this passage of Jesus final moments of solitude. We see four things about Jesus.
1. We see the AGONY of Jesus
All along Jesus knew what was coming and how his life would end. Numerous times he had predicted that he would die. Now he realized that the moment was just around the corner.
The struggle was real. This wasn’t pro wrestling with fake blood and near-miss punches.
Jesus could have said “no.” The first time he prayed, “Let this cup pass from me.” What was the cup? The cup was our sin and his separation from God. Jesus was praying to line up his will with the Father’s will. That was excruciating for him. He ultimately said, “Your will be done.”
When do we experience this agony? When we try to line up our will with God’s will it can be excruciating. It’s like having braces. It is painful to line up your teeth. We may say, “I would prefer not to,” but we must say what Jesus said. To say “Your will be done” is the mark of a sold-out Christian.
What are you agonizing over right now? What are you trying to line up with God on? Are you saying, “Let this cup pass,” or “Your will be done”? There is nothing wrong with agonizing in prayer.
2. We see the LONELINESS of Jesus
Jesus took his remaining 11 disciples to the Garden. Three of them went with him further into the Garden. Peter, James and John were the inner circle. They had been with him when he healed Jairus’ daughter and on the mount of Transfiguration. Because of the agony, Jesus wanted some companionship and comfort. He was left along when the disciples dozed off. It is completely understandable that they were tired, exhausted. We’ve all been physically and emotionally exhausted at some point. Like when my wife had surgery. I fell asleep that afternoon.
When it came down to it, it was just Jesus and the Father. The disciples were of no use since they were sleeping. There are times when we must be alone with God; just him and us. Our friends may abandon us. Our family may leave us. It may not be physical desertion. Sometimes, it can only be God and us. What are we left to do? Who are we left with? There is One who will never leave us. It is just God and us, One-on-one.
Sometimes we just have to withdraw for a period of time. Jesus advised us in Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” We are never truly alone. I once asked a man if he made a trip by himself. He said, “No, God was with me.” God is always with us.
3. We see the TRUST of Jesus
In Mark’s account, Jesus uses the word “Abba” when praying. Mark 14:36 says, “Abba, Father…” Abba means daddy or papa. It is a term of endearment and intimacy.
Everyone has a father, but not everyone has a dad. A father is a mere fact of biology, but a dad is more. A dad has an emotional attachment. There is a sense of trust. I have rarely call my dad “father.” He’s my dad. He is more than ½ of a biological equation. My dad has always loved me, looked out for me, provided for men and sacrificed for me. Even now he does.
God is more than a remote figure in heaven. We can trust him. He is more than a Father; he is a Dad. He is emotionally invested in us. He loves us, looks out for us, provides for us and sacrifices for us. Jesus knew that difficulty lay ahead, but he trusted God to carry him through.
Is it difficult for you to trust God? Why? What is holding you back?
4. We see the COURAGE of Jesus
Jesus was courageous. He was no coward. He didn’t fear pain or death. I’m sure he wasn’t terribly eager to experience either. Just because he would rather have done it some other way, doesn’t mean he was a fraidy cat.
He had come to the point of no return. Verse 46 says, “Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” His accusers were there. From here on there was no escape, apart from divine intervention.