Summary: Jesus faced his greatest temptation as he struggled with the cup in the garden of Gethsemnae.
The Greatest Temptation
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-- yet was without sin.
Jesus faced many temptations. We know of the temptations he faced in the desert early in his ministry. He faced other temptations throughout his life. The greatest temptation he faced came on the night he was betrayed and arrested. Before him was a cup; the cup of God’s will. This was a cup of suffering and salvation. The temptation was to set aside the cup. What did Jesus do as he faced this, his greatest temptation.
I. Jesus went to a garden
A. A usual place- He had done this before
B. He did not hide- he went to the same place he always went
C. He did not go alone- he took his disciples
D. He knew what his disciples were facing- He knew they would be tempted: Luke 22:40 On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." What were their temptations?
1. To run in fear
2. To abandon Jesus
3. To doubt as never before
E. He wanted them to stand strong- but the only way to do that was to be in prayer. We then see that Jesus went to do the very thing he asked his disciples to do- he prayed.
II. Jesus prayed a fervent prayer
A. Jesus did not simply go through the motions of prayer. He wrestled in prayer- he agonized in prayer.
B. Why did he agonize?
1. He was facing the hour of his arrest
2. He was facing the completion of his purpose
3. He was looking into the very cup he had take to carry out the Father’s will. In his hands he held the figurative third cup of the Passover- the one that represented the shed blood of the lamb.
C. Jesus wrestled with his greatest temptation. Before him were two possibilities:
1. Find another way- let the cup pass- literally "I’ll pass."
2. Take the cup and drink it all up and with it take on all that was prepared for him.
D. He desired to do the Father’s will but still it was a powerful struggle- one that we could not begin to fathom. We will never be tempted beyond what we can bear under God’s power. We can be brought right to the limit of our level of temptation. Jesus was stretched to the greatest limits with this temptation.
1. To obey meant:
2. To pass the cup meant:
a. A failed plan
b. A cup that could not be taken by any other
c. A people still lost in their sins- without redemption.
E. We see this struggle in two ways:
1. We see the prayer in verse 42: "not my will but yours be done." His struggle was so great that an angel was sent from God to strengthen Jesus and to help him in his hour of decision.
2. Second, we see the agony as blood fell from the brow of Jesus. Note what the passage says in verse 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
F. Jesus struggled with temptation but he was not done.
III. Jesus stood strong
A. There is a moment of resolve in verse 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. This passage simply shows that Jesus got up resolved to do what was before him
B. Hebrews gives us insight into what Jesus faced and what happened as he stood to take on the challenge. Heb 5:7-9 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him
he shed drops of blood as he prayed
but still Jesus took the cup and drank every drop-
he learned to obey in the garden and became our source for eternal life.