Not As I Will
Jesus' prayer in the garden has always fascinated me. The account can be found in Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; and John does not really describe the prayer but adds insights that I found helpful in John 18:1-11. As a Seventh-day Adventist I would also highly recommend chapter 74 from The Desire of Ages, for some great insights into what Jesus went through during those hours He spent in prayer.
If you listen to the audio of the sermon (above) you will realize that I focused on the account found in Matthew but the message was shaped by details mentioned in the other gospel accounts as well.
I won't write a full manuscript for this message but I do wish to highlight some of the key points that stood out to me from this passage.
The Prayer in the Garden
- Jesus wants the company of His disciples in this difficult moment. Jesus especially wants the company of his closer friends Peter, and the sons of Zebedee (James and John).
- This is the firs time Jesus's disciples see Him this distressed. Jesus is sorrowful and distressed as the Bible describes it "even to death."
- Jesus is beginning to experience the crushing weight of the sins of the whole world upon Him and it feels like it is going to kill Him.
- Jesus prays to the Father asking that if there is any other way, because if there is He would rather not go through with this. But Jesus still wants to do the will of the Father.
- If there was any other way to save us, Jesus would not have needed to die on the cross. He died because there was no other way. There is no salvation outside of Jesus.
- The disciples were exhausted and fell asleep. They did not realize the importance of prayer. Prayer not to change the mind of God but in order to strengthen their faith so that they would not fall into temptation.
- Jesus goes back to pray and this repeats three times, where Jesus prays and the disciples sleep.
- Earlier (verses 31-35) Jesus had told the disciples that they would all forsake Him. Instead of watching and praying to prevent that form happening they simply dismissed what Jesus said thinking they would never abandon Him.
- How often we behave similarly? Neglecting personal prayer and Bible study thinking we would never deny our relationship with Jesus?
- How often do we believe we are strong enough? That our relationship with God would not benefit from intentional prayer?
- Jesus finishes praying accepting the will of the Father and ready to drink the cup. The disciples slept and are not ready for what is about to come, and when the trouble arrives, it is too late to pray.
- Peter wants to fight, he is willing to die! But he is not aware of the plan of God. He neglected to spend the previous hours in communion with the Father as Jesus had asked and now Peter does not know how to act.
- Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss and the soldiers take Jesus away. Jesus is ready for what lies ahead. Jesus has decided to drink the cup. The disciples are caught by surprise and they all abandon Jesus.
I believe that now is the time to pray and study God's word and grow in our faith.
Prayer is not about bending the will of God but rather about aligning our lives with His will.
To neglect our personal relationship with God today is to set ourselves up for failure tomorrow.
Life is tough and it will get tougher. I realized I cannot afford to wait until I am properly rested to spend time in prayer. That day may never come. I need to spend time in prayer today and every day, lest I fall into temptation.
"the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Now that you have read this incredibly summarized version, you should really consider listening to the sermon audio above or on iTunes or Stitcher or PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for Pr. Marlon's Blog.