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Jesus Agony in Prayer

(John 18:1-2; Luke 22:39-47)

I. Introduction.
A. Orientation.
Jesus had prayed earlier
In His high priestly prayer
That for our sakes
He sanctified Himself
That we might be sanctified in the truth (17:19).

He wasnt saying
That He needed to be purified from sin
He is and ever will be
The spotless and blameless Lamb of God
But He was saying that He was setting Himself apart
To complete the task the Father had given Him
That He was placing His eyes on the cross,
And was determined to make this sacrifice,
And wouldnt allow anything to turn Him aside
So that He might give us His Spirit
To make the Word powerful in our lives,
So that we might become like Him.

B. Preview.

Now we see the greatest example of this sanctification,
As Jesus faces what is perhaps His greatest temptation:
To avoid the cross to save His life.

John doesnt record this temptation

As the other Gospel writers do.
Up to this point,
Ive resisted going through
What all the Gospels say
Wanting just to stick with Johns message,
And not try to create a new harmony of the Gospels
But we really need to hear this prayer
And see what happened to Jesus as He prayed
If were to understand
Just how much Jesus loved His Father
And how much He loved us.

So this morning,
Were going to take a detour into Lukes Gospel
To look at this important event.

Lets consider three things:

1. The place of Jesus and His disciples prayer.
2. The content of their prayer.
3. And the results of their prayer.

II. Sermon.
A. First, lets consider the place of their prayer.
After Jesus had finished
Praying for Himself and His disciples,
They went to a garden
That they might all seek the Fathers strength.
John writes, When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples
over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered
with His disciples (18:1).
This garden was located at the foot of the Mount of Olives,
Just east of Jerusalem.
It was called Gethsemane
Which means oil-press
Because it was full of olive trees.

Luke tells us it was the place

Jesus would often come for prayer
At least while He was staying near Jerusalem.
He writes, And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of
Olives; and the disciples also followed Him (22:39).

This is also why Judas would know where to find Him.

John writes, Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus
had often met there with His disciples (John 18:2).

Just as our life was lost in a garden

When our first father Adam
Failed to overcome the enemy of our souls;
So our life was gained in a garden
When the Son of Man gave Himself over to the enemy
To pay for the consequences of our sins.

B. Lets look, second, at the content of their prayer.

1. We should note first,
That Jesus wasnt the only one praying:
He also told His disciples to pray.

We read in Luke 22:40, When He arrived at the place, He said to them, Pray
that you may not enter into temptation.
Jesus was about to face His greatest temptation,
But so were His disciples.

When the soldiers would arrive,

They would be tempted to abandon Him.

When He was arrested,

They would be tempted to deny Him.

After He was crucified,

They would be tempted to leave off the work
Out of fear for their lives.
And so Jesus tells them to pray.

Well come back to the outcome of their prayers

And why they experienced the results they did
In the last point.

2. But Jesus also came to the garden to pray:

We read in Luke 22:41-42, And He withdrew from them about a stones throw,
and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, Father, if You are willing,
remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.

Jesus was now preparing

For His greatest act of humiliation:

Had already humbled Himself

And come into this world as a man
The Creator had become one of His creatures,
Which, by itself, was an infinite stoop.

He wasnt born into a rich family

He didnt live in a kings palace,
Enjoying fine food and clothing
He was born into a poor carpenters home.

While He was here

He lived among sinful men
Having to put up with their sinful words and actions;
Their backbiting, bickering, and mistreatment of one another.

He was frequently hated and abused for telling others

That they needed to repent of their hatred,
Put their trust in Him,
And begin to love each other as God commanded.

He was accused of blasphemy

For claiming to be what He was.

And now He was about

To hand himself over to His enemies,
To be arrested and condemned,
Beaten and crucified.
Then He would die
His soul would be separated from His body
And His body would be laid in a tomb,
Where it would stay for three days.

It was with these things in view

That He began to pray.

But there was one thing in particular

That concerned Him more than any other
It wasnt so much the mocking, beating,
Or even the crucifixion
Though those would have been

Very difficult and excruciatingly painful

But His Fathers wrath that He was about to endure
When He would descend into hell on the cross,
Taking His Fathers just punishment
For the sins of His people
The wrath meant for our sins.

And so Jesus prays:

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me (v. 42).
Now Jesus wasnt asking
That the Father abort the plan of salvation;
But that if it might come in any other way,
That the Father might be pleased to bring it in that way.
Jesus didnt enjoy pain
He was as fully human as we are,
And we know how much we dont enjoy pain.

But notice at the same time

That He was still fully resigned to the Fathers will:
Yet not My will, but Yours be done (v. 42).
If this cup cannot pass unless I drink it,
Then let it be done as You have planned.

Jesus wasnt making a sinful request,

He was simply expressing the desire
Of His human nature not to suffer.

Jesus wouldnt have asked this,

If He didnt think it was somehow possible:
He must have thought it was.

Remember, being a man,

He didnt have unlimited knowledge:
There were some things He didnt know
Such as the day and hour
Of His coming in judgment against Jerusalem (Matt. 24:36).

But as He continued to pray

It became more evident
There was no other way.

And so as He continued to wrestle with His will to survive

That He might give up His life in this way,
The Father sent Him some support
To help Him overcome it,
And give Him the strength to move forward.
Luke writes in verse 43, Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him,
strengthening Him.

With this added strength, Jesus continued,

And His prayer became even more intense.

As He continued to look forward

Into what He must face to save us
Into the fiery furnace of His Fathers wrath,
Into hell itself
He experienced something
That one only experiences under the greatest duress:
He began to sweat blood.
Luke writes in verse 44, And being in agony He was praying very fervently;
and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
In the original, Luke, the physician,
Tells us that His sweat was mingled with blood
It was like thick clotted blood.

Some believe that this is where the atonement actually begins:

In the garden, as He wrestled in this bloody sweat
For the strength to follow through with His mission:
To go to the cross to save our souls.

C. Finally, we see the results of their prayers:

1. Jesus found the strength He needed.
He remained there until He handed Himself over:
He allowed Himself to be arrested,
Condemned, beaten, and crucified.

He endured His Fathers wrath on the cross.
He was buried,
Rose again the third day,
And now He is in heaven
Enthroned over all power and authority.

And having found this strength in prayer,

He went to His disciples to encourage them
To keep seeking the Father
That they too might find
The strength they needed
To overcome the temptations
They were about to face.
Luke writes in verses 45-46, When He rose from prayer, He came to the
disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, Why are you
sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.

Jesus prayed,
And the Father heard and answered Him.

2. But what about the disciples?

They didnt find this strength.
When Jesus was arrested,
They all forsook Him,
Fulfilling the Scripture,
I will strike down the Shepherd,


And the sheep shall be scattered (Mark 14:27).

Peter denied three times

That he even knew Jesus.

And after Jesus was crucified,

They all hid for fear of their lives.

Why didnt they find it?

Well, what were they doing
While Jesus was agonizing
In prayer in the Garden?
They were sleeping
They werent praying as their example prayed:
To the point where they began to sweat blood.
The author to the Hebrews might have had this in view
When he wrote in 12:3-4, For consider Him who has endured such hostility by
sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You
have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.

If you seek the Lord

He will let you find Him,
If you seek Him with all your heart and soul (Deu. 4:29).
But you wont find Him
If you dont really want to.

3. In closing,
Let me draw your attention to three things:

First, the love Jesus has for you

If you have taken Him
To be your Savior and your Lord.
He went willing to the cross for you,
To take your place in hell,
So that you would not spend eternity there,
But eternity with Him.
It wasnt easy for Jesus to do this:
Just looking forward to it in prayer
Made Him sweat blood
How much worse was it
When He actually went through it?
But He was willing to do this for you:
Thats how much He loves you
Thats what the Table reminds you.
If He did this for us,
How much should we love Him in return?

Second, see where He found the strength

To face that hell for you
He found it in prayer.

It wasnt easy.
He had to wrestle with His desire to live.
He had to seek the Father
With all His heart and soul,
But thats what He did,
And He found Him.

Finally, consider what He calls you to do:

In love, to put your comfort, your life on the line
To tell others about what He has to give: eternal life.
Where are you going to find the strength
To overcome your desire for self-preservation
To obey this command?
The only place youll find it
Is at the throne of grace
That Jesus went to the cross to provide.

If you seek the Lord for His mercy,

If you pray with all your heart and soul,
He will give you the grace you need
To do this for Him.

Lets remember these things

As we prepare now to come to the Table.