In The Garden of Gethsemane




Matthew 26:36-39

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there."

And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.

Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

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The Lord Jesus Christ was in the garden of Gethsemane, just prior to His capture, mock trial, and execution.

It was just after His prediction of the disciples’ denial and desertion.

And it was midnight on Thursday on the last week of His life.

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The Lord Jesus Christ asked His disciples to stay at the entrance of the garden.

He needed some seclusion.

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The Lord Jesus Christ told them that He was going to pray.

He wanted to pour out His heart to God.

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The Lord Jesus Christ took Peter, James, and John with Him.

They were the three leaders.

And the other disciples looked to them for leadership.

Whatever they learned would then be communicated to the rest.

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The Lord Jesus Christ agonized over going to the cross.

But He wanted to use His agony as a means for instruction.

He wanted to teach Peter, James, and John how to face temptation.

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The key to overcoming temptation is dependence on God through intense prayer.

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The Lord Jesus Christ was conscious of the weakness of His humanity.

Although He was perfect and sinless, He was human.

And He experienced those things on our behalf.

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The Lord Jesus Christ prepared Himself to go to the cross.

He experienced suffering, sorrow, and grief in the garden through the severe temptation of Satan.

And in the midst of that temptation, we can sense His dependence on God.

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The Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry began and ended with severe temptations.

At the beginning of His ministry, Satan tempted Him after He had fasted 40 days in the wilderness.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Satan tempted Him again.

But the Lord Jesus Christ was victorious on both occasions.

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In the course of the first encounter early in His ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ answered each temptation with Scripture.

Throughout the second, He responded to each temptation with prayer.

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When we face temptation, we have two weapons at our disposal.

Those weapons are the Word of God and prayer.

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After having gone some distance further into the garden with Peter, James, and John, the Lord Jesus Christ began to be sorrowful and very depressed.

Our Lord began to experience deep anguish.

He agonized over the reality of the cross.

He despised everything connected with it: guilt, sin, death, isolation, loneliness, and estrangement from God.

His horror of the cross so repulsed Him that it’s beyond our understanding.

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The pain of the cross was always with the Lord Jesus Christ.

But it was in the garden that it reached its apex.

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The Lord Jesus Christ said His soul (His inner being) was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.

His sorrow was enough to kill Him.

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The Lord Jesus Christ said to the three disciples, "Stay here and watch with Me."

He wanted them to pray with Him.

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Every time the Lord Jesus Christ prayed to God, He called Him "Father".

There was only one exception: when God forsook Him while He hung on the cross bearing the sin of the world (Matt. 27:46).

But His prayer in Matthew 26:39 is the only record in Scripture of His referring to God as "My Father".

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"If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

That is a prayer of resolution and resignation to the will of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not try to avoid God’s redemptive work.

But the degree of such agony led Him to ask if there were another way to accomplish it.

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At the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ would endure the fury of God over sin, Satan, the power of death, and the guilt of iniquity.

Our Lord desired to avoid that part of God’s plan if there were another way.

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The Lord Jesus Christ’s supplication revealed His genuine agony.

However, it was followed by His commitment to do God’s will, no matter what the cost.

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That is the way we all should face temptation, with confident prayer and commitment to the will of God.

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Jesus trusted God.

The intensity of His struggle brought out the best in Him because He approached it correctly.

But it brought out the worst in the disciples because they approached it incorrectly, even though their trial was infinitely less severe than His.

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Oh! What a completely different experience in the garden of Gethsemane!



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