In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus spends some time in prayer. He takes Peter, James and John with Him. His disciples find themselves unable to stay awake while Jesus labours in prayer, and Jesus says to them:
[Mark 14:34] – “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch”
[Mark 14:38] – “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
[Mark 14:41-42] – “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 us at hand.”
To the Father, Jesus prays:
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” – [Mark 14:36]
PRAY: Character of Jesus
Take a moment to think about the situation in the garden. What characteristics of Jesus are revealed here? Spend a moment in prayer and speak these characteristics back to Him. For example – “Jesus, you are fully devoted to the Father’s will.”
Here in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see the man, Jesus, experiencing suffering as all humans suffer, yet without sin. It is a raw insight into the Messiah’s holiness in humanity. Here is Jesus in the flesh, praying earnestly to the Father because He knows it is time for Him to suffer and die on the cross. He speaks His feelings – “Take this cup from Me…” but also acknowledges God’s sovereign will and chooses to submit to it – “…all things are possible for You… nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
Furthermore, even in His time of suffering, Jesus looks out for His disciples. He continues to teach them, and to encourage them in readiness for what is to come. Jesus also helps us prepare in readiness for His coming kingdom. Consider the following two verses from the book of Hebrews:
[Hebrews 2:17-18] – “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”
[Hebrews 4:15] – “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
At Gethsemane, Jesus could have been tempted to walk away from God’s calling on His life. He could have fallen into despair to the point, literally, of death. He could have been tempted to curse God, to choose an easier path that might have spared Him the suffering of the cross. Jesus was tempted in every way, yet the Son of God remained blameless and without sin.
We face temptations everyday in this world – “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” [1 John 2:16] It is sad to see people fall prey to these temptations – the suicides, financial ruins, and discontent souls that seem all too prominent in society. Jesus is the answer. In His suffering, He turned to God and submitted to the Father’s will. In our suffering, we can turn to Jesus and know that He will give us strength to overcome and obey.