Big Hill Bible Studies
27 March 2018
"In The Garden"
Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22
Id like for you to read the passages in these three gospel that record Jesus' prayers in the garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus knows what is about to take place and He is "grieved and distressed" (Matt 26:37 NASB). Verse 38 even says He Himself says He is "grieved to the point of death." He takes Peter, James, and John with Him and asks them to keep watch while He prays. Matthew and Mark write that Jesus went off to pray three times. Luke only records the prayers and Jesus' return to the disciples, yet he records that an angel came to Jesus to strengthen Him and that Jesus' agony caused Him to sweat drops that appeared to be like blood, Here are a couple things to consider.
In the gospels of Matthew and Mark the three prayers of Jesus are recorded. He prays for the "cup to pass" if it is at all possible, but to allow Himself to have the strength to accept God's will for Him. The disciples He depended on to keep watch have fallen asleep each time He leaves then. We see here a contrast in the importance and urgency in our prayers. Before Jesus goes off to pray He tells the three disciples, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation" (Luke 22:40). They are instructed to pray, yet they fall asleep. Why? Have you ever fallen asleep while praying? The command of Christ could not stand up against the dark night and the tired bodies of the disciples - they fell asleep. Three times. In a row. And while they were sleeping, Jesus was praying in torment, sweating drops like blood and being strengthened by an angel. Yet Jesus loved them to the end (in our reading yesterday), and prayed that if it was not possible for His life to be spared that God's will would be done. When Jesus explained that He was grieved to the point of death, do you think they prayed for Him? Tried to strengthen Him themselves? Talked about Him while they did a poor job of "keeping watch?"
I wonder if they thought of the time they were terrified in their boat while Jesus slept. He was resting safe while they were scared to death. Could they not understand His concern and do what they were asked? He was able to overcome their fears and calm the sea and still the winds. They saw His power and authority - and recognized their inability to help themselves. How could they not care enough to keep watch. Jesus in His humanity was experiencing grief and sorrow to the point of death and His disciples slept. What is He asking us to do? Are we too tired, or are we willing and able to obey?