Jesus went to Gethsemane with his disciples to pray after the Last Supper. Gethsemane in Hebrew means ‘oil press’, suggesting that the garden was a grove of olive trees in which was located an oil press. Jesus divided the 12 disciples into two groups. Peter, James, and John went along with him. The rest 9 disciples were instructed to wait for Him till He returned from the garden. No other instructions are mentioned in the Bible. Peter was one of the disciples who claimed he would never leave Jesus and follow Him till death. The mother of James and John had requested Jesus to have the brothers sit on either side when He was seated on His throne. These three had been witnesses to the transformation of Jesus on a mountain.
- Three Disciples: What was Jesus’ expectation from the three disciples when he asked them to accompany Him to Gethsemane. Jesus gave only one instruction. Keep awake and pray for me. Mathew 26:37, 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” The three disciples fell asleep. This happened thrice and each time Jesus only asked them to keep awake and pray.
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Here we see that when the Lord was praying with a troubled heart full of sorrow, the disciples were fast asleep. We have often heard these Bible verses. Ask yourself, if you were in place of the disciples what would you have done?? How much time do we spend in silence praying to the Lord? Most of the time is spent in wasteful discussions about the changes in conditions around us, the problems we face in life, daily tribulations, etc. Just like the years gone by, this year too there will be passion-filled sermons about the crucifixion and the suffering of Christ. Tears will be shed, and then after Easter everything will go back to as it was.
2. Topic for prayer: Let us think about the person who was praying in the garden of Gethsemane. The only Son of God. The one without sin and blemish. The one living in praise. The almighty one. Isaiah 6: 3 says,
3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.” Jesus is the son of the Heavenly Father.
Luke 22:44, And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Jesus experienced pain just any other human, and in pain he calls to the Father, Book of Mathew 26
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
It was not a momentary call for help. The severity of the pain of the sins of all children of God and the extreme punishment He had to undergo to atone for our sins made Jesus call out in pain. Jesus was human only in physical form, He is God in spirit. The one without any blemish had to experience the sins of the world. Can one imagine the depth of pain and anguish He experienced?? Even before His crucifixion, Jesus experienced pain in His prayers. Dear children of God, it is for our sins that he was crucified. How truly do you repent and ask forgiveness for your grave sins??
We claim that I pray often. 95% of the people pray to the Lord asking for requests to be filled that are based in this world. That is also needed. Yet do you take a moment to pray about the ever-increasing sins in the world, immorality, natural calamities, pandemics, the list is long. Today there is distress and misery all around us. Have we been able to pray with a truly heavy heart thinking about these miseries and hand them over to the Lord in prayer? It is said in the Bible,
John 3:16-18, 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Our Lord does not want any person to die in sin. He does not want the sinner to die, rather He wants each one to repent and wash away his/her sin.
3. Plan of God: We all know that Jesus did not pray for His own selfish needs. He handed Himself over to the will of God. Lord Jesus gave Himself up to the will of the Father. Instead, we desire the fulfillment of our own desires. The Bible teaches us that the Devil tries his level best that Lord Jesus fails in accomplishing the plan of the Father in heaven. Jesus is capable of seeing him and talking to him. He defeated the devil in his plans. Even though Peter and the disciples may have fallen asleep. Except for Judas rest too drank from the bitter cup of suffering like Jesus. They are all martyrs for Jesus. We received salvation and redemption through Jesus who atoned for our sins. the sacrifice at Golgotha washed away all our sins. Through the stripping of Jesus, we are stripped of the sins that cover us. The sins of Adam and Eve were distanced from the Father. Our loving Father brought us all back to Him by sacrificing His only son for us. The sin of Eden was washed away with the blood of Jesus at Calvary.
Dear children of God, we humans disregard whatever we get easily. The gift of salvation is not something we worked hard for hence we easily put it aside. It was the Saviour who suffered and was crucified. Most people think lightly of the sins they commit thinking about the salvation promised by the Father. Just think how powerful is our enemy if he could go and tempt Jesus. He is all around us in ways we cannot perceive.
1 Peter 5: 8-9 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.