Summary: Jesus' actions in Gethsemane show us what to do when faced with a crisis in our lives.
WHAT TO DO WHEN FACED WITH A CRISIS
Text: Mark 14:32 – 42
Have you ever been faced with a crisis? Most of us have, and if you haven’t, chances are that you will sooner or later. Maybe it was the death of a loved one, or a struggle with a terminal illness. Maybe it was the loss of a job or trouble with a family member. Maybe it was a crucial decision that you needed to make. How did you deal with it? What is the first thing that you did? The title of today’s message is “What to Do When Faced with a Crisis,” and my prayer is that the next time you are faced with a crisis, you will follow Christ’s example and do what He did.
Jesus was facing the ultimate crisis. In the days leading up to the prayer in Gethsemane, Jesus had been greeted as the Messiah as He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. He had caused quite a stir and made some enemies as He cleared the temple of people selling merchandise. He had several stressful run-ins with the religious leaders, and publicly grieved over the condition of Jerusalem. He had told His disciples several times that He was about to die.
Just before this scene in Gethsemane, Jesus had celebrated the Passover with His disciples, and had given a new meaning to the dinner, telling His disciples once again that He was about to die. He told them that one of them was about to betray Him, and after giving him a chance to change his mind, excused Judas to go and do what he had agreed to do. The remaining disciples got into an argument about which of them would be the greatest, and Jesus teaches them a lesson on humility and service by washing their feet. After this, Jesus takes His disciples out of Jerusalem to a garden called Gethsemane, a place that Jesus had gone many times before to pray.
As they arrived at Gethsemane, Jesus sadly tells His disciples that they would all desert Him in just a few hours. All of them state that they would never do such a thing, and Peter goes as far as to say that he would die before deserting the Lord. Jesus tells Peter that not only would he desert Him, but that he would also deny knowing Him three times before the night was over.
He tells the disciples to stay in the garden as He went further in to pray. He took Peter, James, and John with Him. These three were His inner circle, and were His closest friends. He tells them to watch and pray while He goes even further into the garden.
As we read the accounts of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, we are reminded of His humanity. Verses 33 and 34 say, “And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.” Even though He was completely God, He was also completely man as well. The normal position for prayer in Jesus’ day was to stand with your hands outstretched to Heaven, but Jesus falls on the ground, stricken with stress, loneliness, and fear.
Can you imagine the stress that He must have felt? He knew that He was about to die, and He knew that it would be a horrible death. His mission was to die for the sins of all mankind, and Jesus knew that He was our only hope. How would you feel if you were given the task of jumping over the Grand Canyon carrying someone on your back, and the fate of the entire world depended upon if you were successful? Luke tells us that He was under so much stress that His sweat became like great drops of blood.
His loneliness is evident in this account as well. As I said earlier, He had told the disciples to wait for Him at the entrance of the garden, and He had taken Peter, James, and John with Him and told them to watch and pray as He went even further into the garden by Himself. Over and over He had tried to teach His disciples to love God and one another, but they continued to argue about who was the greatest. He had told them repeatedly about His need to go to Jerusalem so that He could die for the sins of the world, but they had ignored Him and just didn’t seem to understand. They had reprimanded children for trying to come to Jesus. They had criticized Mary for anointing Him with her precious ointment. One of His closest friends had gone to betray Him, and the rest of the disciples were about to desert Him completely. Jesus goes to the Father in prayer alone.