The Prayer in the Garden at Gethsemane!!!
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.” Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The Spirit indeed is willing, but the Flesh is weak. Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”….. Matthew 26:36-46
In our previous Study, we were considering the significance of the breaking of bread and how it applies to our life. We also saw how the Lord told His Disciples of how they were going to Forsake Him and the way the Disciples responded to it particularly Peter. Here we shall consider Jesus prayer of agony in the garden and what the Father’s Cup is all about.
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: Though Jesus came to the Garden with All His Disciples except Judas, yet He did not call all the Disciples to Pray together with Him. He called Only Peter, James and John closer to be with Him in the Garden. These were the three closest to Him whom He has the closest Fellowship with among the Eleven. Jesus can have more intimate Fellowship with some of His Disciples than others. One would have thought, “Why Peter?” Peter that was going to deny Him in few hours from now. Why choose Him? Jesus saw Peter’s Heart. His Heart was good, He was not aware of his own limitations,but deep down in His Heart, He loves His Master but he did not recognize the weakness of His Flesh. If you are unstable as Peter, if you are sincere and Honest in your heart, the Lord can call you into a Deeper Fellowship with Him. The Lord sees what’s deep down in our Heart. Even if you are not getting it right now, if there is still a drop of Love in your Heart towards the Lord, He will never give up on You.
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.: There is an Honesty about Jesus, He was really a Man. He had the Limitations and weaknesses of our flesh as human. He was distressed and grieved. God is never grieved nor distressed but because Jesus had taken upon Himself the Nature of a Man he felt the way all Human will feel when they sense sorrow coming. And He told His Disciples about it that they may know that He was truly a Man. He said to them, ” Stay here and watch with Me”. A beautiful picture of Fellowship. He acknowledged that He needed their Prayers along with Him. Can you Imagine the vast gap between The Spirituality of Jesus and these three Disciples, yet Jesus ask them to Pray along with Him. Sometimes we are too proud to acknowledge our need to others. We think we are so Spiritual and cannot ask for a Younger brother to Pray along with us. We have a high esteem of our own Spirituality. But Jesus was not like that, He was not ashamed to request for the prayers of His friends. When we feel sorrow in our Hearts, call on other Brothers and sisters in Christ to Pray along with You.
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.”: Here we see the struggle Jesus faced in doing the Father’s will. Just like the struggle we all face also when we are to deny our own will to do the Father’s will. I was wondering what was in this Cup? Why was Jesus reluctant in taking this Cup? Was Jesus afraid of Suffering and Death? Is Jesus a Coward? Impossible!!! I have read about how the Early Christians were beheaded, Brunt and thrown to the Lions to be eaten But they all faced Death singing Hymns. So are these Early Christians More courageous than Jesus? Definitely Not!!!. So Why did Jesus prayed 3 hours at Gethsemane sweating Blood saying “Father Take This Cup away! Is there No other Way?” This Means that what was in that Cup must be greater than beating, suffering and Death!!! I perceive God the Father took all the Sins of Humanity, those that are alive and those that are yet to be Born and squeezed it like Orange juice into a Cup and Pointed it to Jesus to Drink. And Jesus knew that once He drinks from the Cup, His fellowship with the Father that He has enjoyed from Eternity will be broken because The Father cannot behold Sin. It was His Fellowship with the Father that Was His Highest priority. He was like, “Father, is there no other way? I have enjoyed this Fellowship with You right from the Beginning, do I have to break it now? Is there no other way?” And I use to imagine the Father saying to Jesus, “Well, You have done nothing Wrong, You can come up straight to Heaven now. But if you do, Remember Victor will go to Hell(I like to take this personal). Victor will be forsaken forever. Victor will burn in the fire that never quench and the worms that never dies will feed on Him. And Jesus thought about Me. My pictures came before His Face. He nod His Head and say, “NO!!! I Can’t allow Victor to go to Hell. If My Fellowship with You is what I have to give up to save Him, then I am willing to give it up”. Jesus Loves Me so much that He was willing to give up His fellowship with the Father for My Sake. He who knew No sin became Sin for Me so that I can become the righteousness of God. On the Cross, there was darkness all over the Earth for 3 hours because the Father Turned His Face away from Jesus. He could not call God His Father because He was carrying the burden of My Sin. He cried ” My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”. But the Father did not respond because at that time His relationship with the Father was broken because of My Sins!!! Jesus Himself had promised that He will never Forsake Me, but the Father Forsook Him when when He bore My Sin upon Himself. Finally, after He has faced Hell and the Judgment of God for My Sins. He Looked at me and said ” Victor, It is Finished!!!” All My Sins, guilt, shame, fears and pains has been paid for!!! I can now come into the Presence of God. Then His relationship was restored, and He was able to say “Father into your Hands I commit My Spirit”
We don’t understand what suffering Jesus went through by breaking Fellowship with the Father because we don’t appreciate Fellowship with God as much as Jesus did. Very often, we have grudges against our fellow brother and our fellowship with God is broken but it does not seems to bother us for days or months even years. Obviously, such people cannot understand the suffering Jesus was going through here at the Garden. A person can have a dirty thought and Yet not disturbed that His Fellowship with the Father is broken such people cannot understand the agony that Christ went through. For Jesus, the most glorious thing to have is to maintain Fellowship with the Father. There is absolutely nothing that can equate His Fellowship with the Father. If we seek to follow Jesus, we must appreciate and value Fellowship with the Father like Jesus did. We must shrink from anything that breaks Fellowship with the Father. What I have discovered is that the Closer we get to know God, the More We discover that there is nothing on Earth to be compared with unbroken Fellowship with Him. It is such a wonderful experience. And My prayer is that we get to such a Life where if we are asked to choose between Cancer and to break Fellowship with the Lord. You would choose Cancer instead. We will prefer Cancer to Anger. We will prefer to Die than to Sin. The only thing that breaks our Fellowship with the Father is Sin. Just try it and see how wonderful your life would be. Stay away from Sins for a Month and see how Happy you would be and how fresh you will look.
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The Spirit indeed is willing, but the Flesh is weak: It is a very disappointing thing that when Jesus was in sorrow and distress, those whom He expect to Pray along with Him were asleep. This is often the case also in the Church, those who are suppose to intercede for the Church in time of distress are often found sleeping when they should be praying. It was such a shocking thing to the Lord that He said, “What!!! Peter, You too? I thought You said Even if others fall away, You will never fall. How will you who cannot wait upon Me for one hour Die for Me?” The Lord addressed this rebuke to Peter because He was the one who claim to be better than the others. Those who claim to know more than others will face more stricter Judgement than others. We must always pray because our Flesh is weak. Jesus Himself prayed because He came in a Flesh like ours. And He knew that the only way we can overcome in time of Temptations is by receiving Strength through Prayer. No matter how willing we may be to live for God, to be useful for God, to be pure, how ever willing we may be, we must recognise that our flesh is weak. It is easy to say, we will never deny the Lord but unless we pray for strength, we will deny the Lord. But just like the Disciples refuse to take heed to His advice, many believers also have done the same. They think they are OK. They think they are strong and went back to sleep. How many times do you need to fail and fail and fail again for you to recognize that Your Flesh is weak? How many new year resolutions more do you need to make to recognize that The Flesh is weak? Those who pray are those who discovered their Weakness to overcome Temptations. Those who are self confident in their ability don’t need to pray. And the reason why you have not received Grace from the Lord is because You don’t ask with Humility in the place of prayer.
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. : This teaches us that there is nothing wrong in praying for the same thing with the same words three times or fifty times if it comes from our Heart, if it is not a meaningless repetition, if it is not mere words spoken without faith or burden. Notice that in all His prayers He said, “Father, Let Your will be done” You can pray any prayer as long as You end it with this phrase. There are many things we are not sure about the will of God. For example, “Who to Marry, What Job to do?, Where to live?” and so on. So if you are in a situation where You cannot find a clear answer in God’s word to know His will. Seek God in Prayer and end it with, “Father, Let Your will be done”. Jesus also taught us the necessity of persistence in prayer. The fact that we keep going back to God again and again in prayer is an indication that we believe He is a good God who cares for us. It is an indication that we believe and hope in His Love. But yet His Disciples continue in sleeping. Oh how difficult it is to awaken those who are asleep spiritually.
Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”: Having received Strength in the Place of prayer, He overcame His Sorrow and distresses. He gave notice to His Disciples that His Betrayer is already around. He said, “Let us go and meet them” not “Let us Run away”. It is only when we see Jesus face to face when He comes that We will understand what a great Love he had for us to be willing to Suffer the greatest agony and any human could ever face.
Dear Friend, How will You respond to a Great Love like this? Will going to church once a week be enough? Will giving 10% of Your income be enough? Will singing and dancing be enough? Shame on you if this is how you respond to a Love as great as this!!! Think of how Jesus struggled with the Cup. Think of How the Father laid upon Him all Your Sins. It was our Anger, jealousy, Lusting, fornication, Adultery, and many more Sins that Led Him to the Cross. He thought about You and Me at that Garden and He said, “It was worth it!!! I will give up that which I cherish the Most for the sake of Man sake”. What can I give back to you oh Lord for what You did for me at Calvary? Absolutely Nothing!!! This is My Life, My intelligence, time, ambition, energies and passion., I give it to you oh Lord!! May the Lord open our Eyes that we may see the How great the Love of Christ towards Us(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus.