Top Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Jesus In Gethsemane #1
Gethsemane—Conflict And Victory (KJV)
By James L. Thornton
Matthew 26:36. “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.”
“They went out into the Mount of Olives.” So simple is the action when set down in cold words. There never was such a going out before—there never has been such a going out since! Let us be very quite just now: the Master has gone out—He is on His way to Gethsemane.
It is now far into the night (John 13:30) and darkness envelopes the little company as they leave the sacred enclosure where they had shared the Passover Meal. Holy and momentous words flowed from the lips of the Savior as they walked. The beloved disciple seemed to hang on every one of them and recorded them for us to read (John 13, 14, 15, 16, 17).
Jesus descended with them into the dark vale of cypresses, where, once, during the reign of the Kings, fire blazed on alters in honor of Jehovah. Here He crosses the brook Cedron, over which His royal ancestor, King David, when fleeing from his son Absalom, passed barefoot and in sackcloth, deeply bowed down by his own guilt and that of his people.
A thousand years had passed since that sorrowful event and many other kings and princes and priests and prophets have trod through the wine press known as Gethsemane, but none so sorrowful and heavy as the one entering now with a few close friends.
Eight ancient gigantic olive trees, to this day, point out to those who make the pilgrimage there, the very spot where the Lord of Glory wept over the misery of the human race, and prayed and agonized for their redemption.
We know that the Lord frequently came to the solitude of that peaceful enclosure, after the heat and burdens of the day, in order, by sacred conversation with His Heavenly Father, to strengthen Himself anew for His great work. Luke expressly remarks that He went “as He was wont” (accustomed Luke 22:39), to the Mount of Olives, but with feelings such as He had never before known upon entering that silent retreat.
The Song of praise (Matthew 26:30), with which he had left the friendly chamber at Jerusalem with His disciples, had long ended. The prayer for His disciples, and those who would, in coming ages believe on Him (John 17), is finished and a great solemnity came over him (Matthew 26:37-38), and it was evident that His soul was became increasingly oppressed.
Every one of His disciples perceived the change in His feelings, and it did not seem strange to them that upon arriving at the garden gate, He should say to them, with deep emotion, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder” (Matthew 26:36b). The disciples, obedient to their master’s dictate, seat themselves near the entrance of the garden, while He, after beckoning to Peter, John, and James, His most confidential friends, to follow Him, goes before them deeper into the garden.
1. There Must Be Witnesses
2. God Himself Presides At Gethdemane
3. Look What A Scene Before Us
4. A Look At The Suffering Savior
5. A Look At His Close Disciples
6. Our Savior's Suffering In His Own Soul
7. Was Jesus Homesick?
8. First Visit To His Disciples, Watch With Me
9. First Prayer, Abba Father
10. If It Be Thy Will
11. Heaven Remains Silent
12. Second Visit To His Disciples
13. Second Prayer
14. Third Prayer
15. A Look At The Human Side Of The Conflict
16. Let Us Analyze Jesus' Petition
17. It Is Finished
1. There Must Be Witnesses:
It is important to Him, for the sake of the future Church, to have Eye Witnesses of the most memorial scenes of Jesus ministry—the Transfiguration, the raising of a dead girl and now His struggle in Gethsemane. Later they would talk and write of these events so that you and I may have a prefect picture of what transpired. The Apostle John does not write of this scene in his Gospel, possibly thinking it too personal and sacred to write about (John 20:30).
Another reason Jesus chose them to be close by, was the purely human feeling of the need of affectionate and comforting fellowship in His approaching conflict. How beneficial it is, in times of trial, in times of distress, to be surrounded by friends who watch and pray with us. Jesus was not a stranger to any purely human feeling of necessity. He “Was made in all things like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:17).
The voice which called through the Garden of Eden called out, “Adam, where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9) But Adam hid himself trembling behind the trees of the Garden, fearful of the summons from the Creator. The same voice is heard in the Garden of Gethsemane. The second Adam, however, does not withdraw from it, but proceeds to meet the High and Lofty One, who summons Him before Him—exclaiming “Here I Am.” We want to follow Him as He enters into the gloom.
In this study we will look upon the things that could be seen and heard—look upon His features and listen to the words of His crying—then hear Him proclaim victory.
In a follow up study on this horrible scene we will look behind the curtain that hides the unseen world and study the spiritual battle that Jesus waged. We learn from the book of Job that there are things that take place in this world that are being played out in the spiritual realm. Satan always enters into the picture in any contest of such magnitude.
2. God Himself Presides At Gethsemane:
We must remember That it is the Eternal Father Himself who presides; but we exclaim with Job, “Behold God is great, and we know him not, …” (Job 36:26a).
If we could have looked behind the dark clouds we would have seen the Father above watching as Abraham climbed the sacrificial mountain in gloom with his son and was hid from Abraham’s sight.
And now the Father’s only and supremely beloved Son (Mark 9:7) appears before Him in a position which might melt the flinty rock to pity; but compassion seems a stranger to Him, who said to Zion, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee” (Isaiah 49:15).
Yet in this scene before us we are tempted to cry out with David, “Hath God forgotten to be gracious, and is his mercy clean gone forever?” (Psalms 77:8-9).
3. Look what a scene before us!
Again and again does the Son cast Himself on His Father’s bosom, with great supplications—but His ears listen in vain for a favorable response from on high. There is nether voice, nor response, nor attention—it is as if the Eternal had in wrath retracted His words, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, thou shalt glorify me” (Psalms 50:15), and had no longer a heart for Him, who lay in His bosom before the foundation of the world.
The cup of horrors does not pass from the trembling hand of the sufferer; on the contrary, its contents become bitterer moment by moment. Louder and louder sounds the cries of the agonizing Savior; but the Holy One is silent, and heaven seems barred with a thousand locks.
At last a Holy Angel appears; but why an Angel only, instead of the immediate and consoling vision of the Father?—A created being sent to strengthen the Creator.
Even after this angelic visitation there was an increase of suffering—for we read, “And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was as at were great drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
4. A Look At The Suffering Savior:
Now we want to turn our attention upon the suffering Savior. Scarcely would one recognize Him He is so enveloped in agonizing mystery. He is the man beheld in the spirit by Jeremiah, and described in these words, “His heart is turned within Him, and all His members Quake.” He is the desolate individual, who testifies of himself in the Psalms, “I am a worm, and no man ….” (Psalms 22:6a).
He is called the “Redeemer of the world,” and yet, who seems to require deliverance more that He? He bears the title of “Prince of Peace,” yet where ever was there one more destitute of peace that He? We see how at one time to His Father, and at another to mere human beings, He turns for comfort to His desponding soul, and does not find what He seeks, and is compelled to return disappointed.
His eye is filled with tears, His lips with cries, while His heart is crushed as in a winepress (Gethsemane), which forces a bloody sweat from His veins.
We could ask, Is this the one who was once the strength of the weak, the comfort of the sorrowful, the support of the feeble, the shield of the combatant? Is this the Holy One of Israel, who formerly was prepared for everything, and joyfully exclaimed “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O my God! Yea, Thy law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:8)
5. A Look At His Three Close Disciples:
Now look also at His disciples, who, while their Master is struggling with death in indescribable agony, we see even the most select of the little group lying on the ground, overpowered with sleep. He rouses them, and almost supplicates them to watch with Him only a little while; but they slumber again, as if unconcerned about Him, and leave their Master to His sufferings.
One of their number is he who said, “Though all should be offended with thee, yet will not I, though I should die with thee” (Mark 14:29b, 31a). Another is the beloved disciple, who once lay on Jesus’ breast, and the third is who answered so resolutely in the affirmative to the question, “Can ye drink of the cup of which I shall drink, and be baptized with the baptism wherewith I am baptized?” Behold here the little dependence to be placed in human fidelity!
But let us look deeper into the darkness and observe this conflict a little more closely.
Hardly had Jesus, with his three disciples, gone a few paces into the garden, when “He Began”—Therefore before their eyes, “To be very sorrowful and very heavy” (Matthew 26:37b).
In these words the history gives us a hint that something unusual now came over Him.
Mark, who possibly was the young man who fled away naked (Mark 14:51), in his peculiar manner of depicting the awful scene more in detail, gives us a clearer idea of the Savior’s distress, by saying, “He began to be sore amazed” (Mark 14:33b).
Mark makes use of a word (ekthambeisthai), the original of which implies a sudden and horrifying alarm at a terrible object. It bespeaks something like that horror of great darkness, which fell upon Abraham (Genesis 15:12), or, rather, something much worse, and more frightful.
The evangelist evidently intends to intimate thereby that the cause of Jesus’ trembling must be sought, not in what might be passing in His soul, but in appearances from without which forced themselves upon Him; something approaching Him which threatened to rend His nerves, and the sight of it freezes the blood in His veins. The terrors of Satan had set themselves in array against him.
6. OUR LORD'S SUFFERING IN HIS OWN SOUL
In a short time Jesus returned to His three disciples with words which cast a strong light upon His inmost state of mind.
He says, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Mark 14:34). This does not indicate merely the measure, but also the nature and kind of suffering.
“My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death.”
This would be a good time for a man to answer the question whether he has a soul. There is a time when no other words will express a man’s consciousness and experience but—“MY SOUL.” Speak to a man in those trying hours when great pain goes through him like a dart of fire. Then dare ask him if a man has a soul.
There are bodily troubles and there are there are troubles of the heart, and are there not grief’s which are peculiarly agonies of the SOUL? For every drop of our blood is implicated in the fierce endurance of the trial. There are an innumerable and reverent host of hearts that have known the bitterness of sorrow and the grief of death.
Do not suppose that the soul’s existence is to be proved by words. There will one day come into your life a pain which nothing but the soul can feel. Once felt it can never be forgotten. Let men meet who understand one another by the bond of a common grief, they will tell those who are outside how true it is, not only that man has a soul, but is one.
We read in Luke, that Jesus “being in an agony” (Luke 22:44a), or, as other translators have it, “He wrestled with death.” He was now “in the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalms 23:4a). It was in the horrors of this state that Jesus felt Himself placed—not merely in the way of beholding them, but also in that of a mysterious entering into them. “This is the hour and power of darkness,” Jesus spoke of (Luke 23:53b).
Our Savior’s Suffering In His Own Soul:
It is noticeable that, up to this point in His earthly career, Jesus had maintained singular tranquility of soul and composure of demeanor. He had been tempted by the devil; He had been maligned and slandered by His enemies; He had been disappointed by His friends; but His calm seems to have been unruffled. Always He seemed to be charge of every situation that arose and had an answer on all occasions, and never lost His composure.
And it is noticeable that, after His agony in Gethsemane, He recovered His composure, and both in the presence of the high priest and of the governor, and when enduring the agonies of the crucifixion, showed the self-possession, the dignity, the uncomplaining resignation, which have been the pattern of world-wide and enduring admiration.
But this hour in Gethsemane was the hour of our Lord’s bitter grief and anguish, when His true humanity revealed itself and cries and tears, in prayers and prostration, in agony and bloody sweat. It is clear that Jesus foresaw what was approaching. He was not ignorant of the hostility of the Jewish leaders, of the treachery of Judas, of the fickleness of the populace, of the timidity of His own disciples.
And, by His Divine foresight, He knew what the next few, awful hours were to bring Him. There awaited Him bodily pain, scourging, and crucifixion; mental distress in the endurance of the insults of His foes, the desertion of His friends, the ingratitude of the people for whom He had labored and whom He had benefited.
7. Was Jesus Homesick?
His mind was, in a way we cannot understand, burdened with the world’s sin, and His body was about to endure death He did not deserve. Is it any wonder He said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death”? It denotes, according to one exegesis, “a feeling of stranger-ship,” – “a sort of home-sickness.” It was Jesus’ way of saying “I’m Homesick.”
How applicable to the Savior’s sorrows! He must have been more than satiated with earth, and homesick, if we may use the expression, for heaven. While the seat of this sorrow is the soul, the sorrow itself is exceeding and overwhelming, and enwraps the soul, the soul being distressed all round –grieved on every side. Nor is that all; it is so excessive that soul and body seem ready to part, or actually to part, under the pressure and the death-pang to be anticipated.
8. First Visit To His Disciples, “Watch With Me”
It is as though He would welcome even the slightest support from His three friends, and speaks to them, no longer like a master to his servants, but like one who is oppressed and in need of comfort. To His brethren who may possibly be able to afford Him help, whom He left with the words, “Tarry ye here,” He says, “Watch with Me” (Matthew 26:38b).
He means, “Do not leave Me: your presence is a comfort.” It is not they, but He, who is to be pitied. “Tarry ye here.” In what distress He must have found Himself, that even the sight of these poor, frail disciples, seemed so desirable and beneficial to Him.
These are the very men who are going to run away from Him. These men would flee away in less than an hour, but He would just have them remain to give Him such little comfort as was in the power of man to give under such tragic circumstances.
We all have had, or will have, the weight of long dark cold nights of loneliness and fear that the touch of a friend’s hand, the look of a loving eye, the utterance of a voice of trust and loyalty—these would have been right eloquent in those certain periods of silence. This is what Jesus was longing for at this moment.
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). This expression points out even more the distress of His soul; for, though intended to serve as a warning to His disciples to be on their guard in this hour of temptation, yet He claims, at the same time their sympathy for Himself, and requests their compassion, possibly even their intercession.
He would have loved to have stayed with the three, but something constrained Him, yea compelled Him, to once again to withdraw from them “about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:41-42).
Here we see Him sinking on the ground, first upon His knees, and then on His face. The question has been raised as to which position a man should pray. There are weights that crush men down! They do not then ask what is the proper attitude or position in prayer—you will be told, you will be put into it, there is a force that will dash you on your face. In such circumstances ask a man as to the legitimacy and usefulness of prayer.
These questions are answered from within. In one case you will discover whether man has a soul, in the other case you will discover whether it is any good to pray. Within you breathes the supplicant that will not be silenced, in your soul dwells the intercessor that will pray when you do not know what to say.
9. Jesus' First Prayer, “ABBA FATHER”
And now the supplicating cry forces itself, for the first time, from His deeply agitated soul, “Abba Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36).
This is the Lord’s Prayer! “O My Father”—that is the same prayer He taught us to pray. What did He say when they asked Him “Lord teach us to how pray? He said, “Our Father.” Now when He has to pray Himself, what does He say? “O my Father.”
It is the same Jesus: He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What, was God a Father still? When the Shepherd was being “smitten,” when the flock was being “scattered,” when the night was getting colder, deeper, darker, when the wind like the breath of hell, was God still Father?
Jesus Christ will now dispense with miracles; He could have performed a miracle by prayer, but He will not.
10. “If It Be Thy Will.”
Yes, However, He would gladly have been spared drinking of the cup which was given Him to drink, the contents of which were so horrible; for it is a real man, susceptible of every painful feeling that suffers within him. He wishes its removal (Luke 22:42) however, simply on the condition that it should be in accordance with His Father’s counsel and will.
He says, “If it be possible” (Matthew 26:39); He does not, however, mean this in the general sense, for He had already said, “All things are possible unto thee” (Mark 14:36); but He asks only of a conditional possibility, within the limits of the fulfillment of that for which He came into the world (John 18:36).
But one may ask, “How can Jesus still inquire whether the redemption of mankind can be accomplished without the cross and the shedding of His blood?” This, however, is not the object of this plea. The Lord’s supplication confines itself to the present horrors— The Cup Of Gethsemane!
Let this circumstance again remind us that the Self-Renunciation (Philippians 2:5-8) of the Son of God essentially consisted in His divesting Himself, to a certain point, of the use of His divine perfection generally and of His unlimited omniscience in particular. Because of His Self –Renunciation He was in a position to walk in the same path of faith with us, and, according to the expression of the Apostle, to “Learn obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).
12. Heaven Remains Silent:
The prayer of the Divine Sufferer knocked at the door of the divine audience chamber with all the force of Holy Fervor and filial perseverance, but no echo greeted His ear. Heaven maintained a profound silence.
Here is the one Who had enjoined His followers to “Knock and it shall be opened, seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall receive” (Matthew 7:7-8), and reiterated by the Apostle, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace (favor) to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16), yet now there is no response from on High!
12. Jesus Returns Second Time To The Three Disciples:
Once again, after rising from the ground with increasing anguish, Jesus makes His way again to His three close companions, but finds them—how inconceivable; --sunk in deep sleep.
He awakens them, and says to Peter, first of all, “Simon, sleepest thou? Couldst thou not watch one hour?” (Mark 14:37) An overwhelming question for the presumptuous disciple, whose mouth had just been full of assertions of fidelity, even unto death! (Matthew 26:35)
Jesus then addresses this solemn warning to all three—“Watch ye, and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit is truly ready, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38).
That which lead Him back to the disciples this time, besides the need He felt of consolation for His agitated soul, was His Great affection for them, who like Himself, were surrounded by dangerous and infernal powers.
“The hour of darkness,” to which He had referred in a previous warning, had arrived. The “Prince of this world” had appeared on the stage (John 14:30) in complete armor and power.
The mysterious hypnotic state and inability of the disciples to stay awake manifests the baneful influence of the atmosphere they breathed. The Apostle Paul later described it as, “The prince of the power of the air …” (Ephesians 2:2).
It was therefore necessary for Jesus to rouse them that they should summon up all the powers of their mind and spirit in order not to succumb to the temptation to offence, unbelief, and apostasy. The words “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” must not be explained as an excuse for slumber, but regarded as an additional reason for the warning He addresses to them.
Satan still uses the same tactics to lull us to sleep when we are praying, studying God’s Word, or even in the Church when the Word is being preached. Once Church is over the spirit lifts and we are awake.
13. Our Lord’s Second Prayer:
Our Lord again returns to His place of prayer, and prays again in a somewhat altered form. “O My Father, if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42.
He does not mean that He urged His petition to have more consideration, but on the contrary, as soon as He perceived from the silence of His Heavenly Father that His petition was refused, He strove, with an increased expenditure of strength, to enter still more deeply into the obedience of faith.
The Second Visit To His Disciples:
Arising from prayer He again sought His disciples, but found them still sleeping—“Sleeping for sorrow” (Luke 22:45), “For their eyes were heavy” (Mark 14:45). And on being awakened, “They wist (knew) not,” in their stupor, “what to answer Him” (Mark 14:40).
14. Our Lord's Third Prayer:
The Lord withdrew a third time into solitude, and prayed the same words as before. “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43).
This appearance of a heavenly being in the midst of all the Satanic forces which surrounded Him, must in itself have given Him comfort, after His mental being had entered into the sphere of sinful men and lost spirits. We will discuss this in greater detail in a sequel to this study.
With what force must God have used to hold back the angelic army of heaven at this moment, any one of which would have stepped in to help the embattled Son of God. But that must wait till the final day appears and one angel does the job (Revelation 20:1-3).
Probably the mission of the angel was to strengthen His exhausted frame, and revive His fainting spirit, in order that in the last and most painful part of the conflict, the body, at least, might not succumb. For immediately after the angel withdrew, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44).
What a spectacle! It gives us a glimpse of the nature and importance of Immanuel’s suffering, and sheds a light upon the darkest and most terrific moment of the conflict in Gethsemane.
15. A Look At The Human Side Of The Conflict:
Let us refer once more to that mysterious prayer at which many so often stumble. It has been found difficult, by some, to make it agree with the Lord’s love to mankind, with His submission to His Father’s will, with Omniscience, and with His previous composure and resolution in the sufferings that awaited Him, that He could suddenly desire to be freed from these sufferings.
(1.) First as regards of our Lord’s Omniscience.
The self- renunciation (Philippians 2:6-8) of the Eternal Son consisted essentially in this, that during His sojourn on earth, He divested Himself of the unlimited use of all His Divine attributes, and leaving that eternity, which is above time and space, He entered upon an existence circumscribed by time and space, in order that He might tread the path of the obedience of faith, like ourselves, and perfect Himself as our High Priest, and Mediator.
As “The Servant of Jehovah” which title is applied to Him in the Old Testament (Isaiah 42:1), it was His part to serve, not to command; to learn subjection, not to rule; to struggle and strive, but not to reign in proud serenity above the reach of conflict. How could this have been possible for one who was God, without limitation of Himself? All His conflicts and trials would then have been only imaginary and not real.
He did not for a moment cease to really be God, and in full possession of every divine perfection: but He abstained from the exercise of them, so far as it was permitted by His Godship.
(2.) Second let us note that Jesus in Gethsemane does not pray to be delivered from His impending sufferings generally, but only the removal of the horrors He was then, at present, enduring.
How could He desire anything contrary to the counsel of God, Who, when His disciples had exhorted Him against thus giving Himself up to suffering, rebuked them so sharply? (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33).
(3.) Finally, the doubt whether the urgency and fervency of Jesus’ prayer stands in accordance with His love to sinners, as well as with His submission to His Father’s counsel, is completely destitute of foundation.
He only asks His Father whether, without infringing upon the work of redemption, that this cup (Gethsemane) might pass from Him. He does not petition Divine power for His rescue from His mission at Calvary.
16. Let Us Analyze Jesus’ Petition:
He had said, “Father, to thee all things are possible” (Mark 14:36). In other words He is saying, “Father I well know that My conflict shall end at Thy pleasure; but wilt Thou be able to will it’s termination without thereby frustrating the redemption of sinners? If not, then refuse my request; I will then drink the cup to the dregs.”
His obedience to His Father equals His love to Him. The language of His heart was, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mark 14:36b). As soon as He became assured by the continued silence of His Heavenly Father, that the world could not be otherwise redeemed than by His completely emptying this cup; He did not permit the wish to avoid suffering to be heard again; but with the words, “My Father, if this cup may not pass from me except I drink it, Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42b).
He accomplished the great sacrifice of willing resignation of His whole self to His Heavenly Father. The cup of horror has been emptied to the very dregs; Our Lord raises Himself up from the dust, and hastens back to His disciples.
The whole manner of His behavior, tone, and deportment is now essentially changed and indicates encouragement and consciousness of victory. We see Him coming forth triumphantly from the conflict, and armed and prepared for all that is to follow.
“Sleep on, now, and take your rest,” He begins to say, “It is enough” (Matthew 26:42. “For My sake”—is His meaning—“You need no longer watch; I require your assistance no more, My conflict is ended.”
The events of the past evening; the long excitement stirred up by listening to such words as their Master had been speaking to them during the sad hours of the Last Supper; the sure consciousness of coming sorrow; then the walk through the silent city: — all predisposed them to sleep.
Commentators are never weary with pressing these excuses for the slumber of the eleven at that awful moment. But all these things, though they may well have predisposed them to slumber, are not sufficient to account for that strange heavy sleep which seems to have paralyzed the eleven in Gethsemane. In spite of their Master’s solemn injunction to watch and pray, he finds them, several times during that dreadful watch of his in the garden, asleep, in spite of his asking them for sympathy and prayer, in spite of his evident longing for their sympathy — each time he cast his eyes on them, he sees them, not watching, but sleeping!
Many a time in their work filled lives those fishermen he loved so well, John and Peter and Andrew, had toiled all night with their nets; but on this night of sorrow, when their pleading voices were listened for, possibly their hand-press waited for, their silent sympathy certainly longed for, they slept, seemingly forgetful of all save their own ease and comfort.
Surely on this night of temptation they were influenced by some invisible power, who lulled them to sleep during those precious moments when they should have been agonizing with their Master in prayer, and so arming themselves against the supreme moment of temptation just coming upon them. But swayed by the power of evil of whom the Lord had been warning them, but in vain, they let the moments slip by, and the hour of temptation came on them unawares. We know how grievously they all felt.
Very touching the words to Simon Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40). The one hour never again to come, the one hour of watching, lost in sleep! And now, “Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me” (ver. 46). May not the pathetic question ring in the ears of the Christian? Why do we sleep — we whom the Son of man has associated with himself in his prayers and pains? We asleep, and he toiling! We asleep, and the world lying in darkness! In the solemn light of Gethsemane, what is the utmost Christian activity but a slumber?
And how many who claim to be Christ’s are fast asleep, not for sorrow, but in self-indulgence and sin! Oh that the gentle, reproachful “why?” may be as an alarm-clock to conscience, a continual incitement to will and heart! The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is ever weak. “Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation!”
17. “It Is Enough”
What do these words mean? What else than, “Your slumber will now cease of themselves.” The words that follow give us this explanation, “Behold, The hour is come; and the Son Of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matthew 26:45b).
“Behold The Hour Is Come”
Jesus knows what hour has struck. Not without a degree of apprehension, but still perfect master of His feelings, He courageously prepares for being delivered into the hands of sinners, with whom, by this expression, He evidently contrasts Himself as the Holy One.
With these words Jesus expresses His victory and His resolution to fulfill the Father’s will— “Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth Me is at hand” (Mark 14:42). What a momentous appeal is this! The Champion of Israel goes forth to attack and overcome, in our stead, death, hell, and the devil, in their strongholds.—Let us adoringly bow the knee to Him and accompany Him with Hallelujahs.
Let us give thanksgiving, and blessings, and praise unto Him who endured such great things for us.
We hope you enjoyed reading this study of Jesus in Gethsemane.
Here is a follow up on this article.
Gethsemane #2 Significance And Results
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By James L. Thornton