Summary: There has never been any event in human history as powerful at Christ's battle in the Garden of Gethsemane. And we are the beneficiaries of it.
Passage: Matthew 26:36-46
Intro: This is one of the most challenging passages to preach in the Bible.
1. not because of great controversies.
2. but because there is so much going on, at so many levels.
3. Christology, soteriology, theology, hamartiology
4. at yet also very simple; a wonderful example of a man overwhelmed by grief falling at the feet of God and looking for answers. Been there?
5. we will stay simple, but at the same time we will discover wonderful things about all those “ologies”
6. let’s sit quietly in the limbs of an olive tree and observe this great drama
I. Why Was Jesus So Sorrowful?
PP Garden of Gethsemane
1. a group of men come into our view; then separate into two groups.
2. the smaller group comes closer, and we can hear what they are saying.
3. one of them seems very burdened, his voice is breaking with sorrow.
4. this is Jesus, and His anguish is evident.
5. words here describe the onset of great sadness, an overwhelming heaviness of spirit.
6. and when He speaks, He tells these few close friends two things:
7. He makes an incredible statement of pain, that he is “surrounded by sorrow”, in such desperate pain that he is close to death.
PP Luke 22:44 “hematidrosis” capillaries in the sweat glands break and blood mixes with sweat
8. don’t back off from this!
9. and in such terrible pain that He says something He has never said before.
10. “I need you guys to pray with me” v38…What??!!
11. we are amazed at this, but there is a reason which we find when we hear him start to pray.
12. v39, “may this cup be taken from me” Cup of God’s wrath
13. we think we know what God’s wrath is by experience, but we don’t
14. it is God’s righteous anger against unrighteousness, but we only know it in a limited way.
15. God told Adam and Eve, you will surely die because of sin, but then He allowed them to remain in a fallen world and experience wrath to a small degree. Shielded by “Common grace”
16. but Jesus was facing something very different.
17. Jesus was going to experience the full infinite intensity of God wrath, with shielding, without limits, without partiality, without mercy.
18. no holding back until the infinite wrath of God was completely satisfied by the infinite submission perfection of God’s Lamb.
19. and so when Jesus would finally cry out, “Paid in Full”, it would mean that the righteousness of God was fully satisfied to have been poured out on Jesus. Propitiation!!
20. there is no way we can fully understand what that would mean, but Jesus did, and He trembled before it.
II. What Did Jesus Do?
1. and the temptation was to find another way to accomplish the same thing.
2. if there was another way, don’t you think that God would have taken it?
3. Jesus asked if there was another way, so awful was this one, so costly.
4. but notice something: He did not take another way; He asked for one.
5. earlier, we saw this word that means “surrounded by sorrow”
6. no way out, the way of the cross the only way.
7. so Jesus went to the author of the plan, the initiator, and asked if there might be another way. V39
8. He didn’t run back to Galilee and come up with another plan.
9. He prayed and asked, all the while knowing if it was God’s will, He would accept it.
10. He was the 2nd Adam, and this was the test that He needed to pass. Would He trust His Father?
11. and so He went to His Father because He trusted His character and His wisdom and His righteous love.
12. there is a tremendous example here that we cannot afford to miss.
13. He went to His Father with the full expectation that if there was another way, His Father would make it known.
14. but if there was not, there would be peace to accept God’s will and plan
15. now just a side note here.
16. three times he went back to check on His disciples.
17. and in the midst of his personal agony, He took the time to challenge them and instruct them.
18. going to speculate a little that each time He went back and saw them sleeping like little kids, He recognized their frailty and remembered why He was dying.
PP sleeping child
III. What Was The Result of His Praying?
1. this is the greatest transformation in history
2. completely overwhelmed, sweating drops of blood, asking mere mortals for help, falling on his face in agonized prayer…
3. and the prayers changed, from “please find another way” to “if that is what is required, that’s what I will do”