As we continue our journey toward Easter, I want to share a devotion
focusing on the Gethsemane experience of our Savior. I do not know where
you are today, beloved, but I suspect that there may be some who are in
their own Garden of Gethsemane. Perhaps you have some unanswered
questions, or you are experiencing some difficulty, trial, or pain. If this is
where you are today, my prayer is that this devotion will encourage you.
SETTING THE STAGE TURN TO MARK, CHAPTER 14.
We will begin with verse 32.
The time is about midnight. Jesus and His disciples have just celebrated the
Passover. They have walked up the western slope of the Mount of Olives
and have come to the place called Gethsemane, which literally means, “oil
press”. This was a place where olive trees grew. The olives would be
pressed into that liquid gold known as olive oil.
This was the place where Jesus would go to pray. There were no gardens
inside the walled city of Jerusalem because it was so filled with people and
homes and crowded streets. To find a garden, the people had to go outside
the walls. The Garden of Gethsemane would be a retreat for the Lord, in His
ministry, and for His disciples, as they would often go there to pray. Jesus
goes to Gethsemane for the last time, to pray.
Look at Mark 14:32. They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said
to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.”
Now, let us observe the Lord as He takes with Him, according
to Mark 14:33, Peter, James, and John. There are perhaps several
reasons that He took these three disciples with Him but let us consider
JESUS TOOK PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN WITH HIM FOR
Jesus Christ is facing, probably the loneliest time in His life. He will be
betrayed, denied, placed on trial, and eventually crucified. He takes
His most intimate friends, the three who were usually with Him. They
were with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration and when He raised
Jairus’ daughter, as well.
JESUS TOOK THESE THREE DISCIPLES WITH HIM FOR THEIR
Peter, James, and John were the leaders among the band of disciples.
Jesus knew that if they would learn; if they were to pick up anything;
if He wanted to teach something specific, then if He taught it to these
three, they could go back and relay it to the others.
Let’s Look at Mark 14:33b-34 and notice that Jesus was distressed. . . . He
. . . began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My
soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.”
Why was Jesus distressed?
Because He, being God and, on the basis of that, being omniscient (all
knowing), knew exactly what was going to happen.
Jesus would be betrayed by Judas.
Judas was one who had walked with Jesus for just over three years, yet he
would betray Him. I would imagine it would be depressing to think that you
had poured your life into someone, yet for thirty pieces of silver, he would
cast your friendship aside.
He knew that Peter would deny Him. Peter, the one whom He had
renamed “Rock,” the one whom He had so much invested in, would, in the
crises hour would deny Him.
He faced the bearing of sin. We are trying to explain something today,
beloved, that is unexplainable. We cannot ever comprehend the agony that
Jesus felt. We could never fully explain the agony that He must have felt
and known was coming by being made sin; by taking on Himself the sins of
the whole world. We cannot imagine.
Now let’s observe The Lord – Alone In Prayer—Verse 35
Now, notice the Lord as He is alone in prayer. Look at Mark 14:35a. And
He went a little beyond them [Peter, James, and John], and fell to the
ground and began to pray . . . This is interesting because the tense means
that Jesus continually fell and continually prayed.
It is as if Jesus, in the dark inner recesses of that garden, observed by
Peter, James, and John before they fell asleep would stumble, and fall and
pray, and then, would pick Himself up off the ground and, in His sorrow,
would stumble and fall and pray again, as He wept. It must have been an
an awesome sight to see Him in such agony and sorrow.
See His agony!
Luke, chapter 22 adds to this text and reveals something of the agony that
Jesus must have felt. Medically, what Jesus experienced is called,
hematidrosis. Evidently, from what I have read, this is when the capillaries
burst underneath the skin and the clotting of the blood can be mixed with
sweat, so that one literally “sweat blood”. Luke 22:44 reads, “And being in
agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of
blood, falling down upon the ground”.
Evidently, when this happens to our bodies, it means that we are in the
throes of anguish. Jesus was in such agony that He perhaps could have
died of a broken heart at that moment.
Now let’s hear the prayer of Jesus—Verse 35
Let’s read Mark 14:35. And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the
ground, and began to pray . . . The word used for “pray” here carries with it
the idea of pouring one’s heart out in prayer. Jesus is pouring out His heart,
He is laying bare HIS heart.
First, notice Jesus finds strength from God’s love. Look at Mark
14:36a. And He was saying, “Abba! Father!. .” It is interesting that even
though He was in such agony, God was still His Father and He continued to
think of God the Father as His Father.
He says, “Abba!” – which is an intimate term that could be translated
“Daddy” – “Father!” Christ had such strength in His relationship with God
Secondly, notice Jesus’ struggle with God’s plan. Look at the next
phrase in Mark 14:36. “. . . All things are possible for You; remove this cup
from Me; . . .” This verse is really interesting. I think we must recognize
that the cup was death and separation. This was real. This was agony. This
was the contemplation of death. Jesus said, “This cup is almost too much to
Thirdly, notice Jesus’ surrender to the Father’s will—Verse 36
In your life and in my life, when we struggle and grapple with
something that perhaps, we are convinced God wants us to do, I
think the key is not asking “Why?” but recognizing “Who?”
That is what Christ did as He surrenders His will to the Father’s will, . . .
“Abba! Father! All things are possible for You remove this cup from Me; yet
not what I will, but what You will.”
What does Christ teach us from GETHSEMANE, on how to handle the will
of the Father – even when it hurts?
Let me share four lessons that I gleaned from this text.
First, closeness to God does not erase the potential of pain.
There was no one closer to God the Father than Jesus Christ. Do not ever
be tempted, when trial comes your way, to think, “Well, I must be sinning,”
or “I must be doing something wrong.” We can be intimate with the Father;
you can be right on track, yet His will may involve tragedy, pain, or
Second, when in pain, friendships are to be utilized, not ignored.
I think the Lord gives us a very practical point when He takes the three
disciples into the garden with Him. He did not really need them and yet, He
gives us a wonderful example concerning friendships. It is at times like this
that intimate friendships can be utilized; can play a part. I think this is
Third, our resources in pain are the word of God and prayer. It is
interesting that Jesus Christ prayed three times in the garden on three
different occasions. Jesus was tempted by Satan on three other occasions.
Each time He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He responded with
Fourth, we pray, not to change God, but to change ourselves. The
prayers of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane were not determined,
necessarily, to change the Father, but to align Himself with the will of the
Father. Prayer is going to God to allow Him to change us; to allow Him to
do a work in our hearts. Then, as we struggle with pain; with trial; with
difficulty, He can do a work in our hearts and change us.
Gethsemane is the prelude to Calvary. Before Jesus could surrender His
body to be beaten and crucified on the cross, He must first surrender His
will to His heavenly Father in the Garden. Why?? If there is no Gethsemane,
there is no Calvary. If there is no Calvary, there can be no empty tomb.
And if there is no empty tomb, then we have no hope. Thank God for