Summary: We can see in this passage an example of what believer’s should do in times of trouble.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 62
When Trouble Comes
After finishing the Passover meal, Jesus left the upper room and led his disciples to the Mount of Olives where they had been spending the last few nights. As Jesus entered the garden it was the end of a long and difficult day, at the end of a long and difficult week. Probably most of us can identify with that description.
Luke in his usual abbreviated fashion describes for us what occurs on the Mount of Olives. He makes no mention of the eight disciples who were left at the garden gate (Matt 26:36), nor of the three (John, James and Peter) who accompanied Jesus into the grove (Matt 26:37). Nor does he mention that three separate times during the evening that Jesus comes and find his disciples sleeping. On the other hand Luke alone tells us of the sweat that drops like blood from Jesus as he prayed and he alone tells us that Jesus told this disciples to pray so that they would not enter into temptation. It is also true that Luke more than any of the other accounts rivets our attention to the soul-piercing anguish that Jesus experienced in the garden.
We find the story in Luke 22, beginning in verse thirty-nine, “Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. (40) When He came to the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’(41) And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw and He knelt down and prayed, (42) saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not my will, but Yours be done.’ (43) Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. (44) And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (45) When He rose up in prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. (46) Then He said to them, ‘Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”
There are lessons here about dealing with times of great trouble if we wish to see them. For we can see in this passage an example of what believer’s should do in times of trouble.
I think that first we need to get a feel for the circumstances that Jesus was in. Mark in his parallel report (14:33) states that it was at this time that Jesus “began to be troubled and deeply distressed.” Jesus’ statement to his disciples recorded in Matthew (26:38) helps us to see just how serious this situation was when he said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” When Jesus said his “soul was sorrowful even unto death,” this is not merely an overstatement for effect. Jesus was literally near death. Did you know that a person can actually die from grief and sorrow?
Jesus is in deep agony. What is the cause of this agony? How can we account for the deep agony that the Lord underwent in the garden? What reason can we give for the intense suffering, both mental and physical, which he endured? There is only one satisfactory answer. The cause of his agony was our sin. The depth of his agony should give us some idea of our debt to Christ.
Jesus was facing a fear that not only made Him sweat but his sweat actually turned to blood. In verse forty-four we read, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” They call this condition Hematridrosis.
This is a rare physical phenomenon in which under great emotional stress, the tiny blood vessels rupture in the sweat glands and produce a mixture of blood and sweat. [Warren Wiersbe. Be Courageous. (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1989). p. 119]
Now having seen how severe the trial that faced Jesus I want us to see how he handled those pressures.
First, When Trials Threatened to Squeeze the Life Out of Jesus He – Didn’t Shut Others Out.
When life get really tough we as humans often resort to isolating ourselves, cutting ourselves off from all human contact. But that is not what we see in the example of Jesus. Jesus didn’t go it alone, and if Jesus needed others around how much more is that true of you and I. Jesus knew what he was up against and he took the three people who were closest to him to pray. When the going gets tough it may be time to get others to help us. There is power in partnership. They hold us up in battle. The hold us up when we are weak. So when things get tough, don’t shut everyone out. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote in Eccles. 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”