There are some great lessons to learn from the time Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and just before he was arrested.
We find the story of Jesus in the Garden in Mark 14:32-42 and Luke: 39-46 and Matthew 26: 36_46. So we know with some confidence where this time was in the life of Jesus, we know that it was just before Jesus was arrested in the garden. After the arrest, Jesus would be taken away and brutally beaten, whipped and crucified for us. Taking on the punishment for our sins and allowing us to be saved through Jesus.
Lets look at Mark 14 first. “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”
Wait a minute. Did you catch that? Here is Jesus, the Son of God, who fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, performs countless miracles and so much more. Yet, right now, in the garden, knowing what was to come, he was genuinely frighten at what he knows is going to happen to him. He is basically saying to three of his closest disciples. “Guys I am scared to death, please stay with me I don’t want to be alone.”
How can Jesus be scared to death? Let’s read on.
“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.
What a minute. This sounds like the way I pray. Repeating the same prayer in case God did not hear it the first time. As I read this part in Mark, I can’t help but wonder why would Jesus be so scared and go back three times to repeat the same prayer. Which to me said, I would do this if it is your will God, but is there any chance this could pass and not have to happen?
And then it just struck me, what was happening here. The powerful lesson we can take from this part of Jesus’s life.
God was letting Jesus experience ALL of being human? Yes Jesus is God. He created us. He has counted the hairs on our head. He knows us better than we know ourselves but knowing and actually experiencing can be two different things. We know fire burns but how many of us stuck our finger in a fire and felt the burn. For those of you, like myself, who just had to stick your finger in the fire of a candle to see how much it can burn, you can really understand how much it hurts. Knowing is not the same as experiencing something.
Now lets read Luke 22:43 -46 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
This scripture tells us two things. One God will be there to help you and strengthen you in tough times. It may not be an angel coming from heaven and appearing to you to comfort you but He will be there to comfort you. The second powerful lesson, this scripture shows us is that Jesus was fully submitting himself to God completely to the point that he allowed himself to become human in every respect, so he could experience the actual emotions of being humans. To experience being so scared to death that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground,
Let’s think about that. We know in Romans 8 vs 34 that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us. So when we are confused, or fearful and we pray to God for help, not once, but multiple times in a row, let this lesson reassure you that Jesus is at the right hand of God saying, “I now how that feels, I have been there. I was that scared” as he intercedes.
What a wonderful and generous Savior we have in Jesus. He experienced so much sorrow and pain unto death for us. Not just to save us but so that when he is interceding for us, he has empathy because he lived it too.
This should not just translate to his intercession for us, it should translate to every thought and prayer we have, that Jesus had to deal with it also. That we can talk with him about every issue in our lives and have total confidence that his answer is “I know. I understand.”
If you noticed I said “when we talk with him.” Talking is praying. We do not have to pray in some set fashion we can just simply talk with our Lord and it is praying. I encourage you in your pray time to just have a simple conversation with our Lord. Tell Him really how you feel. He does understand and more importantly that Bible tells us in he knows what we are thinking so why not just said it. Here are three scriptures that say this.
Psalms 139:4 – Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
Isaiah 65:24 – Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
Matthew 6:8 – Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Simply put if you are thinking something and praying something else that you think God wants to hear then you are telling him you don’t trust him.