81. Jesus prays in Gethsemane
Jesus prays in Gethsemane……….WHEN they had sung a hymn, Jesus came out; and he went as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples followed him. Then saith Jesus unto them,
All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
But after that I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
Peter answered, Although all shall be offended because of thee, yet will not I. I will never be offended. Jesus saith unto him,
Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
But Peter spake the more vehemently, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee in any wise. Likewise said they all.
¶They came to a place named Gethsemane, over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which Jesus entered and his disciples. And he said unto them,
Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast; with him Peter, James, and John. Then saith he unto them,
My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
He went forward a little, and kneeled, and prayed,
Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee: Father, if it be possible, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood.
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them sleeping. He saith unto Peter,
Simon, sleepest thou? What, couldest not thou watch with me one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Jesus went away the second time, and prayed,
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
When he rose up, and was come to the disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said unto them,
Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
He went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words,
Father, take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
And he cometh the third time, and again he found the disciples asleep; and he saith,
Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough: behold, the hour is come; behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us be going: lo, he is at hand that doth betray me.
¶Judas knew the place: for Jesus oft times resorted thither with his disciples.
Immediately, while Jesus yet spake, cometh Judas, and with him a multitude: a band of men from the chief priests and Pharisees; and the scribes and elders of the people, with lanterns and torches, and weapons: swords and staves.
Jesus knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them,
Whom seek ye?
They answered, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith,
I am he.
They went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again,
Whom seek ye?
They said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered,
I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.
That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake,
Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
Gospel reading: Matthew 26:31-46
Meditation 1 of 1:
Are you prepared for trial and testing? Jesus was put to the test at the beginning of his public ministry when Satan offered him power, position, and all the kingdoms under his dominion (Luke 4:1-13). Jesus had to wrestle with temptation and now he warns Peter that he, too, will have to struggle for his very life and soul. Peter was a courageous man. He gave up his business and everything he had to follow Jesus. Now he promises Jesus that he will go with him through any trouble, be it imprisonment or violent death. Satan knows both our weakness and our strength. And he often tests us in our strength to make us fall. Why is that the case? Where we are strongest we are often over-confident and unprepared with our guard down. Peter was passionately loyal to his Master, but he was unprepared for the test that was to come. Jesus not only warns Peter, but prays for him, and then calls him in turn to be a source of help and strength to his brothers when they face temptation. We often cannot help someone in their weakness and failure until we have suffered similar trial and shame. Because Jesus “himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
Jesus did his best to prepare his disciples for what was to come — his betrayal, rejection by his own people, and violent death on the cross. This was to fulfill what the scriptures and the prophets had foretold, that is was necessary for the Messiah to suffer before he entered into his glory. Jesus was tempted like us in everything but sin. Now he undergoes the worst temptation yet to face him, to accept or to reject the agony of death on a cross. Jesus had the power and the means to escape defeat and death at the hands of his enemies. But he chose the way of the cross for our sake and for our salvation. How do you face opposition, failure, trial, and rejection? Do you look to God for strength to overcome adversity with faith, trial with hope, and rejection with love? Jesus went to his favorite place of prayer, the Garden of Gethsemane, to face such trial and testing. In prayer to his Father in heaven he found the strength he needed, both to embrace the Father’s will and to accept the suffering that must come his way in order to carry out that will. What is the cross that you and I must face each and every day? When my will “crosses” with God’s will, then his will must be done. Are you ready to take up your cross to follow the Lord Jesus?
In the Lord’s prayer Jesus instructs his disciples to pray that we might not be “led into temptation”. Sin results from our consenting to temptation. God wants to set us free from evil. We are engaged in a battle between “flesh and spirit”, and so we must ask God for the Spirit of discernment and strength that might not take the way that leads to sin. The Holy Spirit helps us to discern between trials that are necessary and good for our spiritual growth (Romans 5:3-5, 2 Tim. 3:12), and temptation which leads to sin and spiritual death (James 1:14-15). Discernment unmasks the lie of temptation which makes sin look good and desirable, when in reality its fruit is death. That is why Satan is called the “father of lies”. We must resist his lies and cling to the truth so that we may choose what is good rather than evil. If we decide in our heart that we want to choose what is good and to obey God, then God will surely give us the strength and help we need to overcome sin. Paul the Apostle tells us: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). We will only see victory in our struggle against temptation to sin if we take it to the Lord in prayer. It was by prayer that Jesus overcame his tempter in the struggle of his agony. We, too, must be vigilant in prayer and ask God for the strength and perseverance to be faithful to him to the end.
Satan will try his best to induce us to choose our will over God’s will. If he cannot induce us to apostatize or to sin mortally, he will then try to get us to make choices that will lead us away from what God wants for us. Jesus was tempted like us and he overcame not by his own human strength but by the grace and strength which his Father gave to him. He had to renounce his will for the will of his Father. He succeeded because he wanted to please his Father and he trusted that his Father would give him the strength to overcome the obstacles that stood in the way. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit to be our strength and guide and our consoler in temptation and testing. God the Father is ready to give us all that we need to live in his way of love and righteousness. Do you rely on the Lord for your strength and help?
“Lord, your word is life and joy for me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may have the strength and courage to embrace your will in all things and to renounce whatever is contrary to it.”