Summary: The Garden of Gethsemane was in many ways the deepst crisis of the Passion of Jesus Christ. What can we learn from observation our great High Priest at this moment of tremendous decision?
Passage: Matthew 26:36-46
Intro: It’s fitting that we should look this morning at the greatest example of the application of Philippians 4:6-7 that anyone will ever see.
PP Phil 4:6-7
1. if anyone ever had a reason to be anxious, troubled, worried, it was Jesus Christ just minutes from the beginning of His death by crucifixion.
2. we prefer Jesus to be terrifically strong, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
3. but come with me to the Garden of Gethsemane this morning, and we will see a man in deeper agony of soul than any of us will ever know.
4. but we will see a man who knew where to go with it.
5. in order for Jesus to be our High Priest, He had to know what it meant to know the temptation to give in to fear and reject faith in God.
6. because of who He was and is, that temptation would be played out on a far greater stage
7. God’s whole redemptive plan hung in the balance
6. and His response to that temptation stands as a model for us to follow.
I. The Crisis: Fear or Faith
1. Judas had left the Last Supper, gone to betray his Master.
2. Jesus and disciples went to an enclosed olive grove, where there was a press to extract olive oil.
3. leaving most disciples, took 3 closest
4. with them, he exposed the terrible depth of His suffering.
5. “began” v37 words important, especially “troubled”
6, very rare in NT, compound word expressing a certain bewilderment.
Il) “a restless, distracted shrinking from some trouble or thought of trouble that cannot be escaped.”
7. also means “heaviness”. “heavy sigh”
8. statement in v38 clarifies.
9. “surrounded by sorrow”…unto death!!
10. not suicidal, but so weighed down by enormity of what He had to face in order to fulfill the Father’s plan that it came close to killing Him.
Il) Carson: “Jesus did not suffer martyrdom… Jesus went to his death knowing that it was his Father’s will that he face death completely alone as the sacrificial, wrath-averting Passover Lamb. As his death was unique, so also his anguish; and our best response to it is hushed worship.”
11. so deep that for the only time in Scripture, he expressed the need for his disciples to support him. “stay with me”
12. don’t ever think for one minute that Jesus doesn’t understand the temptation to shrink from God’s call to suffer, to run in fear, to come up with a plan of His own.
13. the agony was real, and so was the prayer.
II. The Choice to Pray
1. much Jesus could have done.
2. what was stopping Him from running for Galillee, away from enemies, forces arrayed against him?
3. falls on His face, “if it is possible, remove this cup.”
4. insight into agony, because “cup” a clear symbol of the wrath of God
5. the death He was facing was unique, to absorb the terrible wrath of God against your sin and mine.
6. would mean the severing of fellowship, the turning away, for Jesus to know the wrath of God in His own body and spirit.
7. so He took that fear to His Father to see if there wasn’t another way.
Il) “do I have to lose my child? Must I experience illness? Do I have to lose my job?
8. and all the while, faith says, “your will and plan is superior to mine.”
9. Jesus was absolutely alone in His agony, Disciples did not rise to need.
PP) John 16:32
10. utterly abandoned, He turned to God with all His fear and sorrow and in the torment of His soul.
11. even then able to instruct disciples, whose lack of prayer left them wide open to the temptation to…fear!
11. He responded to the crisis with a great faith, a model faith, a childlike belief that His Father’s plan was the best one, and He would accept it if there was no other choice.
III. The Powerful Answer
1. God’s response is not in words.
2. But we notice the response in the words and actions of Christ.
3. 2nd prayer has small changes.
4. v42, “”if not possible..unless I drink” i.e. God had made it clear
there was no other way to accomplish His redemptive plan.
-greek grammar = “if” assumed to be true
5. “may your will be done” =submission; faith replaces fear
6. disciples still sleeping, returns again to prayer, same prayer as 2nd.
7. now compare terrible sorrow and heaviness “to point of death” v38 with words and resolve in v45
8. “Behold, it’s beginning! Look, here comes my betrayer”
9. “I can see the torches, hear the voices”
10. what happened?