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What Can We Learn from the Jesus' Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane?

Updated Feb 20, 2024
What Can We Learn from the Jesus' Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane?

Let us notice Jesus's prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a lonely prayer. He withdrew even from His three best friends about a stone’s throw. Believer, especially in temptation, be much in solitary prayer. As private prayer is the key to open Heaven, so is it the key to shut the gates of Hell. As it is a shield to prevent, so is it the sword with which to fight against temptation.

Further, it was Son's prayer. Matthew describes Him as saying, “O My Father.” Mark puts it, “Abba, Father.” You will find this always a stronghold in the day of trial to plead your adoption. Hence that prayer, in which it is written, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” begins with, “Our Father which are in Heaven.” Plead as a child. You have no rights as a subject. You have forfeited them by your treason, but nothing can forfeit a child’s right to a father’s protection. Be not, then, ashamed to say, “My Father, hear my cry.” Again, observe that it was persevering prayer. He prayed three times, using the same words. Be not content until you prevail. Be as the importunate widow, whose continued coming earned what her first supplication could not win. Continue in prayer and watch in the same with thanksgiving.

And last, it was the prayer of resignation. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Yield and God yields. Let it be as God wills, and God will will it that it shall be for your best. Be perfectly content to leave the result of your prayer in His hands, who knows when to give, and how to give, and what to give, and what to withhold. So pleading earnestly, importunately, yet mingling with it humility and resignation, you shall prevail.

Adapted from Spurgeon's Sermons, Gethsemane (No. 493), by Charles Spurgeon.

Jesus Asks if He Can Escape Suffering

He begs that this cup might pass from him, that is, that he might avoid the sufferings now at hand; or, at least, that they might be shortened. This intimates no more than that he was really and truly Man, and as a Man he could not but be averse to pain and suffering. This is the first and simple act of man's will—to start back from that which is sensibly grievous to us, and to desire the prevention and removal of it. The law of self-preservation is impressed upon the innocent nature of man, and rules there till overruled by some other law; therefore Christ admitted and expressed a reluctance to suffer, to show that he was taken from among men (Heb 5 1), was touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Heb 4 15), and tempted as we are; yet without sin. Note, A prayer of faith against an affliction, may very well consist with the patience of hope under affliction. When David had said, I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it; his very next words were, Remove thy stroke away from me, Ps 39 9, 10. But observe the proviso; If it be possible. If God may be glorified, man saved, and the ends of his undertaking answered, without his drinking of this bitter cup, he desires to be excused; otherwise not. What we cannot do with the securing of our great end, we must reckon to be in effect impossible; Christ did so. Id possumus quod jure possumus—We can do that which we can do lawfully. We can do nothing, not only we may do nothing, against the truth. 

Adapted from Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Jesus' Temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane

There is much mystery in the reality that the God-Man could be genuinely tempted, but there is no question as to whether He was thus genuinely tempted - the Bible is explicit that He was and that it is because He has endured such temptation that He is a High Priest who can be touched with the feelings of our limitations (Hebrews 4:15). The greatest temptation Jesus faced was to turn back from the cross (cf. Matthew 4:8-10; Matthew 16:21-23). As the cross drew nearer, the prospect of the spiritual death that He would suffer there filled Jesus with terror. This is nowhere seen more dramatically than in the scene in Gethsemane. This garden was not a public place; it was privately owned, and the owner made it available for Jesus when He was in the regions of Jerusalem (John 18:2). Notice that Dr. Luke provides us two remarkable notes that give us insight into the trauma Jesus endured in this experience - the reference to His sweating "great drops of blood" (Luke 22:44) and to His need for angelic assistance (Luke 22:43).

Adapted from The Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane, Dr. Doug Bookman

Jesus Sweats Blood in the Garden of Gethsemane

The physical suffering of Jesus began in the Garden of Gethsemane on the evening before His crucifixion. While the disciples slept, the Gospel of Luke records that the LORD "being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

This was written by the physician Luke, a well-educated man and a careful observer by profession.

Luke is also the only gospel writer to mention the bloody sweat, possibly because of his interest as a physician in this rare physiological phenomenon, which spoke eloquently of the intense spiritual agony Jesus was suffering... (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defenders Bible, marginal notes for Luke 22:44)

Although this medical condition is relatively rare, according to Dr. Frederick Zugibe (Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York) it is well known, and there have been many cases of it. The clinical term is hematohidrosis. "Around the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form." Under the pressure of great stress the vessels constrict. Then as the anxiety passes "the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture. The blood goes into the sweat glands." As the sweat glands are producing a lot of sweat, it pushes the blood to the surface - coming out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat. Jesus wasn't sweating blood because he was afraid of the physical pain of the cross.

Indeed, the book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus looked forward to the cross:

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Taken from "Gethsemane: Where Jesus Prayed for Me!" by Discover the Book Ministries (used by permission).

Jesus Chose to Suffer after Praying in Gethsemane

The love of Christ for us in his dying was as conscious as his suffering was intentional. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). If he was intentional in laying down his life, it was for us. It was love. “When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Every step on the Calvary road meant, “I love you.”

Therefore, to feel the love of Christ in the laying down of his life, it helps to see how utterly intentional it was. Consider these five ways of seeing Christ’s intentionality in dying for us.

First, look at what Jesus said just after that violent moment when Peter tried to cleave the skull of the servant, but only cut off his ear.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52-54)

It is one thing to say that the details of Jesus’ death were predicted in the Old Testament. But it is much more to say that Jesus himself was making his choices precisely to see to it that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.

That is what Jesus said he was doing in Matthew 26:54. “I could escape this misery, but how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” I am not choosing to take the way out that I could take because I know the Scriptures. I know what must take place. It is my choice to fulfill all that is predicted of me in the Word of God.

Taken from “The Intensity of Christ's Love and the Intentionality of His Death” by Desiring God Ministries (used by permission).

Photo credit: © Unsplash/Mads Schmidt Rasmussen

Learn more about the meaning and significance behind the Easter holiday and Holy Week celebrations:

What is Lent? and When Does Lent Start?
What is Ash Wednesday? and When is Ash Wednesday?
What is Palm Sunday?
What is Maundy Thursday?
What is Good Friday? and When is Good Friday?
What is Holy Saturday?

What is Easter? and When is Easter Sunday?
Easter Bible Verses
The Resurrection of Jesus 
Easter Prayers

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