HAVE YOU HAD YOUR GETHSEMANE? (Luke 22; John 18. Matthew 26; Mark 14)
“And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’ Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’ When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, shall we strike with the sword?’ And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, ‘Stop! No more of this.’ And He touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours’” (Luke 22:39-53-NLT).
Gethsemane was a familiar place for the disciples. So Judas knew where Jesus would be that night. “And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples” (John 18:2). The word Gethsemane means “Oil press,” where olives were crushed to produce oil. It was most likely a walled olive grove on the Mount of Olives. Crushed is an applicable word. When we are going through times of anguish and despair, we feel crushed.
It was nearly midnight when Jesus and His disciples came to the Garden of Gethsemane. It had been a traumatic day, and they must have been very tired. But Jesus had business in the Garden more important than His rest. Jesus knew He's about to be arrested. He knew that He must be sacrificed for the sins of the world. He went there He was well aware of what lay before Him…”Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him…” (John 18:4). Nothing Jesus experienced that night came as a surprise to Him.
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me” (Matthew 26:36-38).
His spiritual warfare had begun, as he wrestled with His own humanity, asking His Heavenly Father, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matthew 26:39). Didn’t Jesus realize that there was no way the cup of death could pass from Him? Of course He knew, He is God. So why did He pray for God to remove the death sentence? His prayer was simply an expression of His humanity. Remember, Jesus was completely God and completely man. When He took on human flesh, He also took upon Himself all the frailties of flesh. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since He had the same temptations we do, though He never once gave way to them and sinned” (Hebrews 4:15-TLB).
“Remember, Christ had no sinful appetites, no desires that were perverted by sin, no inclination to do wrong. Yet if He needed to submit His appetites and passions to the will of God with such deliberate, purposeful dedication, how much more do we need to be deliberate in surrendering our hearts, our souls, our minds and our strength to God” –The murder of Jesus, John MacArthur.
He felt the full range of the human experience, except for our sinfulness. He was completely human in every respect. He had to live with the same physical limitations that are common to humanity: Hunger, thirst, pain, fatigue, sorrow, anger, and joy. We could never understand the depth of His sorrow because we could never understand the seriousness of sin, or the terrors of divine wrath upon sinners, the way he did. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” (2 Corinthians 5:11). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
He was perfect man, with human ancestry, human appearance, human constitution, human infirmities and human frailties. He was indeed the Son of Man, while at one and the same time, He was the God the Son. “He (Jesus) was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8-TLB).
On this night we see His humanity and His complete dependence on His Father. In His humanity He never one time acted independently of His Father. It is here in Gethsemane that we see Him with His face to the ground. “He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will’” (Mark 14:35,36). “He got down with His face on the ground and prayed” (Luke 22:41-NLV).
Our Lord Jesus, even though He is God, the Sovereign of the Universe, the Creator, bowed down with His face to the ground. What a lesson for us! We do not come before God with a flippant attitude, like, “Here I am Lord, the one You’ve heard so much about.” It is always, “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5,6). “Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet” (James 4:10-MSG).
It’s was not just death, not just the physical pain and suffering He endured on the cross. It was not just the scourging (whipping), the horrible thirst, nails being driven into His hands and feet, a sword being thrust through His side; the disgrace of being spit upon, and the disrespect He felt by the jeers of the crowd, it was all of that combined. But what Jesus dreaded most was the pouring out of divine wrath He would endure from His Father. He experiences His own Father turning His back on Him. “About three o’clock, Jesus shouted, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46-TLB).
Why was it necessary for Christ to suffer?
“He (God) made Christ, who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:21-AMP).
“He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed…But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush Him and cause him grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in His hands” (Isaiah 53:5,10-NLT).
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
His blood began to flow in the Garden of Gethsemane, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). (“Hematidrosis a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood”–Wikipedia). This was just a small taste of what will happen to Him the next day, when His blood will be poured out on the cross of Calvary! “He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:38-NLT). He was deeply grieved, (related to the word from which we get the periphery, meaning, surrounded by sorrow. He was engulfed in sorrow.
What was the cause of His sorrow?
He was not sorrowful from the fear of dying. That was His purpose in coming to earth. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Galatians 4:4,5).
He was not sorrowful because He feared the grave. Jesus knew He would rise from the grave. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…But when Jesus said ‘this temple,’ He meant His own body. After He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered He had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said” (John 2:19,21-NLT).
He was not sorrowful because of the betrayal of Judas, although that hurt Him deeply. As does any betrayal of His children.
He was not sorrowful from knowing that Peter would deny Him (Like 22:54-62).
He was not sorrowful knowing that His disciples would desert Him. Where were they? The Bible doesn’t tell us where they all had gone. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied that he knew Him. Where were the others, I think that there was a cloud of dust on the road leading of the city as they were running from what may also happen to them! Only John was there!
He was not sorrowful from the injustices and humiliation or the pain of the scourging He would have to endure.
He was not sorrowful just from the loneliness of Gethsemane while His disciple’s slept. Human feelings of loneliness are very painful, because it is a feeling of being unloved, uncared for, unwanted, of being deserted and forsaken. “I cry out loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy. I spill out all my complaints before Him, and spell out my troubles in detail: As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away, You know how I’m feeling, know the danger I’m in, the traps hidden in my path. Look right, look left—there’s not a soul who cares what happens! I’m up against it, with no exit—bereft, left alone. I cry out, God, call out: You’re my last chance, my only hope for life!” (Psalm 142:1-7).
How did Jesus pray?
He prayed as a child to a loving Father, with tenderness and love. When we are having a Gethsemane-like experience: A hospital room, court room, funeral home, extreme pain (physical and emotional), isolation, injustice or betrayal, we need to pray as a child to a loving Father.
The words Christ uses show a touching intimacy with His Father. In this prayer Jesus addresses God as “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36). Abba is the Aramaic equivalent of Daddy, an intimate, child-like expression of trust and affection.
He prayed as a child to a powerful Father. “He cried out, ‘everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me’” (Mark 14:36-NLT). Was it possible for the Father to remove this cup of death? The answer is Yes! Was it possible for Jesus to refuse the cup? Again, the answer is Yes! But is it possible for the Father to remove the cup, or for Jesus to refuse the cup and accomplish redemption? No God did not have a back-up plan. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). So Jesus prayed, “Father,” He said, “everything is possible for You. Take away this cup from me. Yet I want Your will, not Mine” (Mark 14:36-TLB).
He prayed very intensely. “Who (Jesus), in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear” (Hebrews 5:7).
Then Jesus was supernaturally strengthened. “Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand” (Mark 14:41,42).
“Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:43).
What strength, what courage, what resolve! Just a moment ago Jesus was collapsing in emotional and physical distress. His Father did not take away the cup, but He sent what was needed for Jesus to drink the cup!
God may not take away your cup of pain, but He will provide everything you need to endure it. Just look at the Apostle Paul. We don’t know for certain what his “Thorn in the flesh” was, some say it was a physical ailment, others that the thorn was a person, We do know that it was “A messenger of Satan.” “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me…Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
God may allow us to go through some Gethsemane experiences, some traumatic times before He calls us home, but He will always come to you if you ask! Jus look at Daniel and Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-Nego, God did not keep them from their hour of despair, but He came to them and delivered them in the midst of their despair.
Let’s look at what Jesus did there, so we can understand what we need to do when we are in that garden.
Sometimes, when we need help the most, our friends and loved-ones are in the middle of their own garden. “At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief” (Luke 22:45).
What trial are you going through? Pain, separation, anger, remorse, grief, depression, or feelings of failure? Can God remove your cup of pain? Yes! But He can’t remove it and still accomplish His purpose in your life! We must learn, that whatever happens to us in this life, we can simply Romans 8:28it! “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
The Phillips translation puts it this way: “Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.”
He cannot remove cup of suffering and see His full potential in our lives. He cannot remove the cup of suffering from us, and use us to bring others to Jesus. One of the hardest things to do is what Jesus did, “Not My will, Yours be done!” “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” (Hebrews 10;9).
Why does God allow us to experience Gethsemane in our live? So we can more fully experience His presence. Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-Nego may never have experienced God’s presence if not for the fiery furnace! (Daniel 3). Daniel may never have had a powerful witness to the King if he had not been in the lion’s den. (Daniel 6).
God allows the cup of pain so that we can bring His comfort to others who are suffering. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Your Gethsemane may have many names: Divorce, death of a parent, a spouse, or a child, failure in business, separation from loved-ones, financial setbacks, loneliness, old age, and health…There is nothing more stressful, lonely, painful or traumatizing as the hospital. Whatever your cup of circumstances, God wants you to see it as your very own, personal Gethsemane. That’s where our pain and despair is transformed into growth, glory and supernatural strength through prayer and the presence of God. Your Gethsemane is where we give Him our pain and He cares for us! “Casting all your cares (all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all) on Him, for He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7-AMP).
We enter into our Garden of Gethsemane when grief, disappointment, loneliness, feelings of hopelessness, betrayal and despair come our way. And much of the time we feel that no one cares.
Frank E. Graeff, 1901, went through some very difficult trials. The period before writing this song was one of great despondency, doubt and physical pain. When he turned to God’s Word, 1 Peter 5:7 gave wonderful comfort: “He cares for you.” After meditating on that truth, Graeff wrote these lyrics, with the resounding affirmation in the chorus, “O yes, He cares…”
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress
And the way grows weary and long?
Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?
Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?
Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
–Frank E. Graeff–
I’ve said far too many times, “I’m tired of the struggle, will this pain never go away?” Time and again I have gone to God with the all-too familiar words, “God, I hurt!” I sometimes get a little angry about having to live with pain, anguish, stress and difficult people! But then I remind myself to “Cast all my cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7). And I am reminded that our Heavenly Father hears every painful groan, sees every tear we shed, feels every feeble attempt we make trying to ease the pain. Don’t you that God’s great heart is burdened with ours? God wants us to get to the point where we can go to Him and say, “Okay, God You now what You’re doing. I trust You completely!”
“God, I hurt.” And God said, I know.”
I said, “God, I cry a lot.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you tears.”
I said, “God, I am so depressed.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you Sunshine.”
I said, “God, life is so hard.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you loved ones.”
I said, “God, my loved one died.” And God said, “So did mine.”
I said, “God, it is such a loss.”
And God said, I saw mine nailed to a cross.”
I said, “God, but your loved one lives.” And God said, “So does yours.”
I said, “God, where are they now?”
And God said, “Mine is on My right and yours is in the Light.”
I said, “God, it hurts.” And God said, I know.”
Written by K. C. and Myke Kuzmic
(Posted on the wall at the Oklahoma City bombing site)
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-39-NLT).
The truth is, just beneath the surface of every believer, especially those of us who are more mature, is a ache that will not go away. You may try to ignore it, disguise it, change the label or submerge in a torrent of activity. But it will not go away, and for good reason, we were designed to enjoy a better world than this one. My mom’s last words were, “I’m going to a better world than this one.” How true! So until we actually enter into God’s promise and presence, we continue to groan for what we do not have, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later” (Romans 8:18-TLB).
Listen, child of God. God will always come to you if you ask! There’s no valley so low, no mountain so high, no road so long and bumpy, no work so exhausting, no sorrow so deep, no stress so debilitating, no anguish so devastating, no responsibility so overwhelming that God cannot come where you are.
Remember Elijah who went from the mountain of victory to the valley of despair, he was discouraged, distressed, depressed, and feeling sorrow for himself: “Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. ‘Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died…’[Then on to] Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the Lord said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ Elijah replied, ’I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.’” (1 Kings 19:3,4;8-10-NLT).
Let’s take a long hard look at ourselves. What is your pain? I know too much introspection is unhealthy, but too little can be dangerous. But to focus on our pain, troubles and heartaches is a grim business, and could leave us cynical, depressed and unmotivated. Many Christians will spend their Christian live trying to ease the pain and escape from the groaning.
Why do we need to face our pain? Not just physical pain but emotional, spiritual and relationship pain. Pain disrupts life. It can rob us of sleep. I sometimes triggers harsh responses toward people we love. It tends to drive us away from our responsibility to a life filled seeking immediate relief from our pain. So you turn to alcohol, drugs, sexual activity, overeating, fits of temper, uncontrollable crying spells, angry thoughts, bitterness and laziness.
So, have you had your Gethsemane?
In the garden He went to pray when it seemed hope was gone.
He prayed with a broken heart. He prayed all alone.
Have you had a Gethsemane? Have you prayed in despair?
In the dark of those weary hours, did the Lord meet you there?
Have you had a Gethsemane? Have you prayed the night through?
Have you shed tears in agony when no hope was in you?
Have you prayed, “If it is Thy will may this cup pass from me?
But if it is Your will, dear Lord, I will bear it for Thee.”
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also the New Living Translation (NLT); The Message (MSG); The Amplified Bible (AMP); the King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version) NLV); and The Living Bible (TLB).
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