LEARN THE LESSONS FROM JESUS ON PRAYER SO THAT WE TOO MAY TRIUMPH OVER TEMPTATION —
TEN LESSONS ON PRAYER FROM JESUS IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE
This short passage captures the deep emotion of Jesus as the weight of His propitiatory sacrifice for sin on the Cross hits home with intensity. We cannot imagine the internal agony as the Son of God aligns His will with that of the Father and triumphs over the desires of Satan to thwart God’s redemptive purposes. We can learn much about prayer as we see the failure of the disciples to watch with Jesus and continue in prayer themselves.
I. (:39) PATTERN OF PRAYER
“And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives;
and the disciples also followed Him.”
Donald Miller: The fact that Jesus planned his own arrest is seen in his going to the Garden on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, “as was his custom” (vs. 39). He had been spending each night there recently (21:37). He knew that Judas had gone to inform the authorities where they might find him. Instead of going elsewhere to avoid arrest, he went exactly where he had been going, to the place Judas well knew (see John 18:2), to await his seizure. He is master, not Judas and not the authorities.
II. (:40) PURPOSE FOR PRAYER
“And when He arrived at the place, He said to them,
‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’”
III. (:41a) PRIVACY IN PRAYER
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw,”
MacArthur: Likely, typically, it belonged to a man, a family, surely believers in the Lord Jesus who let Jesus and His disciples find privacy there, secrecy there, and sleep there in seclusion.
IV. (:41b) POSTURE IN PRAYER
“and He knelt down and began to pray,”
V. (:42a) PETITION IN PRAYER
“saying, ‘Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me;”
VI. (:42b) PREDETERMINATION IN PRAYER
“yet not My will, but Thine be done.’”
VII. (:43) PARTNER IN PRAYER
“Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.”
Bruce Hurt: Strengthening (enischuo from en = in + ischuo = to strengthen) used only here and Acts 9:19 (“he took food and was strengthened”) and means to be strong in anything, to be invigorated, become strong. Its basic meaning is “to grow strong, to regain one’s strength” as when Jacob, who was sick, strengthened himself to meet Joseph and his two sons who came to visit him (Genesis 48:2). Cleon Rogers says “The strengthening role of the angel is like that of a trainer who readies the athlete.”
VIII. (:44a) PAIN AND PATHOS AND PASSION IN PRAYER
“And being in agony He was praying very fervently;”
Bruce Hurt: Fervently (ektenos from ek = out + teíno = to stretch; English = tension, etc) literally pictures one “stretching out”! It pictures “an intense strain” and unceasing activity which normally involving a degree of intensity and/or perseverance. Stretched out and extended to the limit is the idea. Jowett suggests the picture of the tension and energy of a stringed instrument, “as when the string of a violin has been stretched to a tighter pitch that it might yield a little higher note.” Cranfield suggests the figure of “the taut muscle of strenuous and sustained effort, as of an athlete.” It is not doing something lightly and perfunctorily but straining as it were to do it!
Morris: Why was Jesus in such perturbation as He faced death? Others, including many who ow their inspiration to the Mater, have faced death quite calmly. It cannot be death as such that caused this tremendous depth of feeling. Rather it was the kind of death that Jesus would ide, that death in which He was forsaken by God (Mk. 15:34), in which God made Him to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).
IX. (:44b) PERSPIRATION IN PRAYER
“and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.”
Geldenhuys: We shall never be able to understand or feel the full depth of the struggle and distress which Jesus as our Substitute experienced in Gethsemane, while remaining perfect in loyalty towards His Father. But this we know: it was there that He made His final choice to take our sins upon Him, and for the sake of our redemption to suffer and to die.
X. (:45-46) PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER
A. (:45) Emotional Exhaustion
“And when He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples
and found them sleeping from sorrow,”
Geldenhuys: The experiences of the previous days, and especially of that final night, coupled with the words of warning uttered by Jesus, and His whole demeanour that evening, had overwhelmed the disciples and left them strengthless and sorrowful. For this reason, and also because it had been a busy day and night was now far advanced, they had fallen asleep.
B. (:46) Exhortation to Keep Praying
“and said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping?
Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.’”