Summary: A sermon on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Outline from James E. Smith's book, The Longest Night In the Bible; So What? from Damluka Friday Pele)
Michael Card’s song In the Garden: Trembling with fear, alone in the garden Battle before the final war Blood became tears, there in the garden To fall upon the silent stone There in the darkness the Light And the darkness stood still Two choices, one tortured will And there once the choice had been made All the world could be saved by the One in the garden
We are talking about the Passover Plan where the Son of God would provide redemption for all of mankind through the cross of Calvary. Some say that Jesus was swept up in circumstances beyond his control and the cross was not the original plan. Hogwash!
Jesus orchestrated many of the details of this plan himself. Last week we talked about John 13. “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;” John 13:3, NIV. From this understanding of his mission, Jesus washed his disciples feet in the Upper Room. After this we find that Jesus knows about Judas and his plan of conspiracy with Jesus enemies to betray him. Even in his words and actions with Judas on that last night we find that Jesus is arranging all of the details to fit the plan of God.
After Judas leaves, Jesus talks candidly but compassionately with his disciples. From John 13- 17 we see that Jesus gives his disciples many promises and predictions.
It was approaching midnight Thursday night. The Passover Celebration is concluded and they walk down to Gethsemane meaning “a place of oil presses.” Go to Matthew 26:36f, focusing on Jesus and not so much on disciples:
Vs. 36- Eight disciples were left at the entrance.
Vs. 37- Peter, James, John saw Jesus’ glory on Mt. of Transfiguration. Now see his sorrow.
Vs. 38- Jesus is being truthful with them. Jesus needed their support at that time. It is good to have others to support us when we are in agony; for two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
Vs. 39a- Luke tells us Jesus went beyond these 3 about a stone’s throw, about 150 to 200 feet. Luke also tells us that he knelt down. Mark says that he fell to the ground. Matthew says he fell on his face. This all suggests that he was prostrate for at least part of the prayer
5. Vs. 39b- Jesus often called God His Father. Mark says that he called the Father Abba here. If it is possible- If there had been any other avenue by which Jesus could have made possible our salvation, it would have been revealed at this time but no. May this cup- Frequently in the OT the cup is associated with God’s judgment. On the cross, Jesus drank the cup of God’s judgement so that we might not have to drink it. Be taken from me- That Jesus might avoid the sufferings now at hand; or, at least, that they might be shortened. Yet not as I will, but as you will- We see here Christ’s submission to the will of God. Our Lord Jesus, though he had knowledge of the extreme sufferings he was to undergo, yet was freely willing to submit to them for our redemption and salvation. Jesus went to the cross, not as a victim, but as a victor.
Vs. 42- Jesus went back to the 3 disciples and was disappointed with them. Going from them he returned to prayer. From his second prayer we find that Jesus has it settled in his mind that the cup cannot pass away. He must die on the cross. Prayer is not only the petition of our desires, it is also the surrender of our wills to God.
Vs. 44- Going back to 3 disciples and again being disappointed, Jesus returns to prayer a third time. We can gather that these prayers were not vain repetitions. Each prayer came from the depth of his soul. We have reason to believe that this was not all he said, for it seems from the words to the 3 in vs. 40 that Jesus continued an hour in his agony and prayer. No matter, the bottom line was that Jesus surrendered his will to that of His Father.
Were these prayers answered? Yes, 3 answers:
1. An angel appeared and strengthened him (Luke 22:43).
2. God provided strength and resolve so that Jesus did not fail to carry out his mission
3. In the resurrection Jesus’ prayer was eventually answered. Jesus was not saved from the cross; he was saved through it.
Vs. 45- Jesus knows that the hour is upon him. That hour of which he spoke and especially all that evening. Jesus gave the apostles notice of the approach of his enemies. It is likely that they were now within sight or hearing. Jesus said that his enemies were sinners, for they were about to commit the greatest act of injustice the world has ever known.