Summary: God is our ever-present help in time of need, and prayer is His hot line.
The Messiah and Facing Crisis
Text: Matt. 26:36-46
1. Illustration: This week I officially started my new business as an Aflac insurance agent. One of the most important things that Aflac programs do is to assist people when they are going through a crisis situation like an accident or a serious illness. This is important for two reasons: 1) we will all face a crisis of some kind in our lives, and 2) we have no idea when they will happen!
2. The question is not, "Will I ever face a crisis in my life," but rather, "what will I do when it happens?"
3. Having financial insurance during a crisis is very important, however, having spiritual insurance during a crisis situation is even more important. We all have spiritual insurance in time of crisis, and it is called prayer!
4. There are three kinds of prayer that help us in a crisis situation...
a. United Prayer
b. Obedient Prayer
c. Whole-Hearted Prayer
1. Let's all stand as we read together Matt. 26:36-46.
Proposition: God is our ever-present help in time of need, and prayer is His hot line.
Transition: The first type of prayer we need in times of crisis is...
I. United Prayer (36-38).
A. Keep Watch With Me
1. Jesus and his disciples have now left the room where they had celebrated the Passover meal, and head towards a familiar place.
2. Matthew tells us that "Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane...”
a. On their way out of Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples stop at a place called Gethsemane, which John calls a "garden."
b. This word comes from the Hebrew/Aramaic gat šemanim, which most likely means "oil-press."
c. Putting the accounts together suggests that Gethsemane was a garden area among the olive tree groves on the Mount of Olives that had a place for the preparation of olive oil. Jesus and his disciples often frequented the place (Wilkins).
3. Once there, Jesus says to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed."
a. On the way it was good to stop at this lovely garden with its ancient olive trees.
b. While the disciples were bragging on themselves, Jesus felt the incredible pressure of bringing salvation to the whole world.
c. So, as he always did when he needed strength, he slipped away by himself to pray. It is interesting that Jesus indicated to them that it was his expressed purpose to go and pray (Horton, 585).
d. Some scholars suggest that the disciples go to the cultivated garden area to sleep in the cave that they frequented on other occasions.
e. Once at Gethsemane, Jesus directs the larger group of disciples to stay in the cave, but he asks the inner group of three disciples to stay awake with him while he prays.
f. Jesus took his three closest disciples with him to pray. They had been witnesses of his greatest glories, now they would experience his greatest agony.
g. The word that is used here is a very powerful one in the Greek language, and it implies great mental stress and anguish, even fear.
h. The understanding of what was about to take place hit Jesus like a ton of bricks. We cannot even begin to understand what Jesus was experiencing that night.
i. He was not only experiencing the fear of death, but also the weight of humanity's sin. It was almost more than Jesus' human body could take (Horton, 585).
4. Matthew then tells us, "He told them, 'My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.'”
a. Jesus wants them to share with him this overwhelming time of sorrow and trouble as he faces the cross: "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
b. Jesus goes away from the trio of disciples to be alone, because he must plead with his Father privately, although having his closest followers near provides necessary human support.
c. In times of crisis we not only need the power of prayer, but we also need to support and encouragement of our brothers and sisters.
B. Prayers of the Saints
1. Illustration: "Can the humble request of believing lips restrain, accelerate, change the settled order of events? Can prayer make things that are not to be as though they were? Yes, a thousand times yes Intercession is the mother tongue of the whole family of Christ."
2. In times of crisis we need the prayer support of our Church family.
a. James 5:16 (NLT)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.