JESUS AGONIZES IN THE GARDEN
As we continue on in our study in Mark chapter 14, we have seen that Jesus and His men have finished the Passover meal. The Lord shared with them the new covenant which is seen in communion. And now they are heading out of the eastern gate of the temple mount area and they are heading towards the Mount of Olives.
To get there they would have to pass through the Kidron Valley, which is a rift that runs all the way down to the Dead Sea, where this brook finally flows into. And keep in mind that this water was mixed with the blood of the nearly 1/4 of a million lambs that were sacrificed for the Passover meal. And so as Jesus passed through this brook, He was reminded of the blood He would shed for the sins of the world, for He is the Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world. This was on His heart and in His mind as He goes to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. And that is where we will be picking up our study this evening, in Mark chapter 14, beginning in verse 32. And keep in mind that Judas is no longer with them, Satan had entered him and he is now preparing to tell the religious leaders where they can go to arrest Jesus.
1. Now this garden area on the Mount of Olives, was a place that Jesus would frequently go to, He had permission from whoever owned it. We read of this in Luke 22:39, "Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him." Also, in John we are told, "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples." John 18:1-2. So this must have been a quiet place that Jesus went to and prayed and spent time with His men away from the crowds, for Judas was aware of it, he must have spent much time with Jesus there, and Judas knew that Jesus would go there often.
2. We are going to see all that Jesus went through this night and the solution to all this turmoil was not drinking, it was not found in pills, it was not found in mind altering drugs, it was not found in anger, it was not found in isolation! Then what was His solution? PRAYER! What a lesson for each of us, that when you are faced with difficult things in your life, the answer is prayer!
3. The Mount of Olives is filled with olive trees, thus its name! If fact, you can go there and see olive trees that date back to the time of Jesus and even farther back, some 2,000 to 3,000 years old. And the name "Gethsemane"means "olive press." I find that interesting for in this garden we see the forces of darkness trying to crush Jesus, for Him to fail in His mission. In fact this spiritual battle is so intense that Jesus is crying tears that are mixed with blood! This was the greatest spiritual battle ever fought and how was it won? By Jesus being on His knees in prayer! Again, a powerful lesson for us to learn and for us to understand, applying these things to our life.
1. The eleven apostles followed Jesus, but then He lets only Peter, James and John come and follow Him to the area where He was going to pray. This inner circle of 3 we see Jesus pour more of Himself into. They were the ones who were allowed into the room when Jesus raised Jairus daughter from the dead. They were the ones who saw Jesus in all of His glory, transfigured before them. And they now are the ones who are going with Jesus to the garden, to be with Him in this time of great agony!
2. Why these 3 men? Well, Peter was the one who said he would never deny the Lord, no matter what happens. James and John were the ones who wanted their mother to get them seats of honor in the kingdom, on the right hand and the left hand of Jesus. And these men were going to find out that their spirit was very willing, but their flesh was very weak!
1. The Greek implies horror, terror, that Jesus was overwhelmed by what was set before Him. So He wanted His friends around Him, to be there for Him during this time of great anguish! I think what we can learn from this is that we do need friends to pray for us, to encourage us, but many times our friends will fail, and we need to learn to lean upon the Lord, He will never fail us. It is faith that we must see grow in our lives, dont be disappointed with friends, trust in the Lord!
2. Obviously the cross was before Him, only several hours away. But I dont believe it was the beatings that were coming that troubled Him. I dont believe it was the pain of hanging on the cross of Calvary that troubled Him. I dont even believe it was death itself that troubled Him for He was going to be raised from the dead on the third day. I believe it was the realization of all the sins of the world being placed upon Him and at that moment and probably lasting 3 hours, the Father turned His back on the Son, that fellowship they enjoyed for eternity was now broken. It was something Jesus never experienced before, and will never experience again, but at this point it was overwhelming to Him as He thought about it!
3. Now why would God the Father turn His face from God the Son? Because God is holy and He can not look upon sin. In Habakkuk 1:13 we are told, "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness..." Thus, as Jesus bore on Himself the sins of the world, the Father could not look upon Him. And in Psalm 22, a Psalm written from the perspective of Jesus hanging on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins, we are told in verse 1, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?" It is the same words that Jesus would cry out as He hung on the cross, but this would be some 1,000 years from the writing of Psalm 22, long before the Romans came on the scene and used crucifixion as a form of the death penalty. You can feel the pain that Jesus was going through as He bore the sins of the world.
4. The result of what Christ has done for us is seen in Galatians 3:13, which says "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree")." And In II Corinthians 5:21 we are told "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Thus, God can look upon us now for as we come to Christ we no longer stand in our own righteousness but the righteousness of Christ that has been given to us by faith. We are seen as perfect before the Father in Christ!
1. The Greek word for "prayed" is PROSEUCHETO, and it speaks of constantly praying, fervent praying, praying so that He can overcome the anguish He had inside of Him. And He calls the Father ABBA which is Aramaic for "daddy," obviously an intimate term. I believe we are seeing here the humanity of Jesus. The cup that was before Him spoke of the wrath of God or the judgment of God upon sin, and that sin was to be judged on the cross of Calvary, upon Jesus! It is as Paul said in Hebrews 5:7-9, "who, 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, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him."
2. Jesus is pouring His heart out to the Father, not that He wouldnt go to the cross, for He came to do the will of the Father, but if there was any other way, any other way than the cross, then He wanted to do it that way! The thing I want you to see is there was no other way and there is no other way except the cross of Calvary. It is the same today. You cant go to heaven without first going to the cross of Calvary and asking Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, believing by faith the gift of life.
3. Today we see the positive confession movement where all you have to do is name it and claim it and it is yours. God becomes a servant to you. That is heresy! They will even go as far to say that what Jesus said was a cop out, a lack of faith on His part, for He said "...nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will." You see, they tell us to claim whatever you want and God has to give it to you. Wrong! Are you willing to pray to the Father and not have your will be done, but His? Jesus did, and He is our example!
4. God may have some difficult trials, difficult paths for you to go down, dont fight against it, ask for strength to go through those times, and He will strengthen you. In Luke 22:43 we are told that as Jesus prayed over the issue of the cross that was before Him, "Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him." God will do no less for you, for He loves you! We need Gods strength and as we submit to His will He will strengthen us for the work that is before us.
1. Here is strong, powerful Peter who would stand and fight for the Lord no matter what, and yet he couldnt even stay awake! In fact, Jesus doesnt call him by his new name, Peter, but Simon, which means "shifting sand." Peter could not stand in the flesh, in his own strength, and neither can we. You see, some 50 days from this point they were going to be filled with power from on high, the Holy Spirit will come upon them for service. But before you can experience the power, you have to go to the cross. You have to die to self, the old nature and come to the point where you say to the Lord, "Not my will, but Yours be done!"
2. One other point, fellowship with God will keep you from the temptation of the flesh. It is when we walk away from God, do our own thing, that we end up fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, we are not walking in the Spirit of God! Keep that in mind as you go out into the world!
1. Think about this for a minute for there is a great spiritual principle found here. Anytime that you want to do things for the Lord, anytime you step out in faith in the lord, the enemy will bring about great opposition towards what you are doing, the weakness of the flesh will be seen. Things like "I dont have enough time!" Or "Im too tired!" Or "I cant do that!" Those things will many times flow into your mind. What should you do? PRAY! Luke tells us the first time Jesus prayed He knelt down before the Father, Luke 22:41. The second time He went to pray He was flat or prostrate before the Father, Luke 22:44. And the third time we see Jesus pray in this section we see Him crying tears of blood, Luke 22:44. You see, He agonized over what was before Him and He gave it to the Father, to strengthen Him in the work, to complete the task that was set before Him.
1. At this point the matter is settled, Jesus was going to the cross, He was fulfilling the Fathers will. He recognized this was the only way. And as Jesus returns and finds them still sleeping, it may have been an hour that He was watching over them till He said "It is enough!" And now Jesus awakens His men as He sees in the distance some 1,000 people coming towards Him with their torches lit, coming to arrest Him. Judas the betrayer is coming!
2. I find it interesting that the issue Jesus was praying over was now settled. No more anguish, no more terror, no more trouble, but He is at peace. I think we can learn a lot from Jesus, obviously! No matter what we are going through, give it to Him, and instead of being anxious or troubled, we can be at peace, as Jesus was. Peter tells us in I Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Also, in Philippians 4:6-7, Paul tells us "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Bring everything to God in prayer and rest in Him!