This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on April 10th 2022 by Manesh Peter via zoom. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
The Battle In The Garden Of Gethsemane
We have been in a series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Paul after writing about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, took a pause in 1 Corinthians 13 to turn the attention of the Corinthians to the importance of love. Last week Colin like Paul took a pause and so wonderfully turned our attention to the importance of love. Today being the Palm Sunday, let's turn our attention to the source of this love – Jesus Christ.
In the garden of Eden, the first Adam lost a battle. God had asked Adam to obey one small thing – Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But he was deceived by the enemy, and he disobeyed God. He lost the battle that day. The consequence of this loss was deadly. Sin and death entered into the world. The whole creation groans as a result of this fall.
Now let’s look at what happened in the garden of Gethsemane.
Mark 14:32-34 - 32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
In the garden of Gethsemane, the second Adam, Our Lord Jesus Christ, was deeply distressed and troubled. His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow. Notice here that it was not fear. But sorrow. Not any normal sorrow. Sorrow to the point of death. A moment when you feel death is better than handling the sorrow.
Now, why was Jesus in such great sorrow?
For sure Jesus had to face the physical pain of being whipped and nails piercing His hands and legs. For sure Jesus had to face the emotional pain of being mocked, rejected and shamed by the people who were created through Him. The people whom He loved. I am not counting all this pain as less. However, I believe the reason for this great sorrow was far greater. So great that we cannot fully understand it. It was the sorrow of becoming sin even though He did not know sin (2 Cor 5:21). Sorrow of drinking the cup of God’s wrath for our sins. Mark 14:36 says Jesus prayed ‘Take this cup from me’. In the bible, Cup represents God’s wrath (Jeremiah 25:15). Jesus was deeply troubled with the thoughts of being forsaken by God the Father because of our sins.
Remember Jesus was one with the Father since the beginning. (John 1:1)
But God had to forsake His only begotten Son (Matthew 27:46) on the cross so that He will not have to forsake us.
Now how did Jesus handle this sorrow? How did He handle this battle of mind? He prayed. Not once, not twice. But three times. Through prayer, He won this battle of the mind, and He was strengthened to obey the difficult task of taking God's wrath for our sins upon Himself and thereby save us.
The portion of scripture for today's message is - Mark 14:27-52.
Following are the main things that happened in this portion of scripture: -
1. Jesus tells His disciples that they will all fall away.
2. Peter says He will never fall even if all fall away.
3. Jesus predicts Peter's denial.
4. Jesus prays three times in Gethsemane that, if possible, the hour might pass from Him.
5. Jesus is arrested.
6. All His disciples flee.
Following are the three things I would like to highlight based on this portion of scripture: -
1. Our salvation was only possible through the sacrifice of Jesus.
2. Prayer strengthened Jesus.
3. We are preserved in Jesus.
1. Our salvation was only possible through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Mark 14:35 - Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible, the hour might pass from him.
Jesus prayed that, if possible, the hour might pass from Him. But the hour did not pass from Him. This shows that our salvation was only possible through His sacrifice.
John 14:6 - Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Application - If you have not given your life to Jesus yet if you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, consider receiving the gift of salvation today. Jesus suffered on the cross so that you can be with Him in heaven forever. You just need to believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and was resurrected on the third day. You just need to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
- If you are already a believer, take a moment to thank Jesus for taking so much pain to bring us home.
2. Prayer strengthened Jesus
When Jesus was deeply distressed and troubled, when His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow, He prayed.
Mark 14:35-36 - Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
He prayed that if possible, the hour might pass from Him. However, He sought Father’s will and not His will in prayer.
Jesus prayed this prayer three times.
Matthew 26:44 - So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Luke 22:44 - And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Jesus prayed so earnestly that His sweat became like great drops of blood.
It seems at the first glance that His earnest prayers did not give any result. It may seem like a waste of time and effort. However, His earnest prayer strengthened Him and made Him ready to face the sufferings.
Luke 22:43-44 - 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
As an answer to His first prayer, an angel appeared to Him and strengthened Him. But still being in anguish He prayed more earnestly.
But after praying three times, He was ready to go to the cross. He said to His disciples in Mark 14:42 'Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!'.
John 18:11 - Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
Now Jesus was now ready to drink the cup His Father was giving Him.
In the list of Armor of God in Ephesians 6, prayer is mentioned as the seventh Armor (Ephesians 6:18).
Before we win our battles in the physical realm, we will have to win our battles in the spiritual realm through fervent prayers.
Prayer is not a formula. We don’t pray to twist God’s hand to make Him do something He doesn’t want to do. Sometimes when we pray, we are the ones who are changed. Our will aligns with God’s will. Prayer strengthens us to do His will. Sometimes we pray to bring to pass in the physical realm the things that God has already given to us in the spiritual realm. Some other times we pray to strike the enemy and destroy his plans. In short, through prayers, we partner with God in bringing His kingdom on earth.
Romans 12:12b NLT - Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
When troubles come our way, we should be patient and we should keep on praying.
When Jesus went for prayer in Gethsemane, Jesus asked His three close disciples Peter, James, and John to watch and pray (Mark 14:38). But they slept instead of watching and praying (Mark 14:40).
Do you find praying difficult? Praying is not easy. To keep on praying is not at all easy.
We need the help of Holy Spirit to pray earnestly. He helps us in our weaknesses. (Romans 8:26).
Application - We should pray earnestly. We should seek the help of the Holy Spirit to pray earnestly.
3. We are preserved in Jesus
Jesus told His disciples that they will all fall away.
Mark 14:27-28 - “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “ ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
But Peter said He will never fall even if all fall away.
Mark 14:29-31 - Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
Peter was confident on his strength and his will to follow Jesus. However, he not only deserted Jesus, but he also denied Jesus three times.
Exactly as Jesus said all His disciples deserted Him when He was arrested.
We need the grace of God to follow Jesus, especially during persecution. By our own strength, we cannot follow Jesus. But thank God we are preserved in Jesus.
Jude 1:1 NKJV - Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
We should not think that we by our own strength can prevent ourselves from stumbling. We should trust in God’s ability to keep us from stumbling.
Jude 1:24 - To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—
We should put our trust in Jesus' words so that no one can snatch us out of His hand.
John 10:28 - I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
We should not trust in our love for Jesus. We should trust in His love for us. We should not think that our righteous acts and our zeal for Jesus will keep us from stumbling. Instead, we should trust in the truth that we are already righteous because of what Jesus did on the cross.
Romans 5:19 - For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
It is the obedience of Christ on the cross, that made us righteous. It was not our obedience that made us righteous. So, neither can our disobedience, make us unrighteous.
Zeal should not come before righteousness. Righteousness should come before zeal.
Our righteousness does not come from our zeal for God. Our zeal for God should come from the truth that we are already righteous through the obedience of Jesus.
Saul had a zeal for God. He thought his zeal for God was making him righteous. He was killing Christians because of this zeal. But when he became Paul, he knew he received the free gift of the righteousness of God through Christ. He still had the zeal for God. But the foundation of his zeal was now God’s righteousness on him through Christ.
We should not be Saul. We should be Paul. This will give us much-needed rest and peace. Some live in the constant fear of losing salvation and losing God’s acceptance. When we are righteous only because of the obedience of Christ on the cross, how can we lose righteousness?
Application - Do not trust in your own strength to follow Jesus. Always trust in God's ability to keep you from falling.
Conclusion - Jesus paid a heavy price to make us whole. We should walk in this wholeness that Jesus gifted us through the cross. Joy, Peace, Righteousness, Rest, Healing, Provisions, and Intimacy with God are our portion in Christ. We should be people who pray earnestly. Not to gain acceptance of God. Rather than as already accepted children of God, we should pray earnestly to bring God’s kingdom on earth.
James 5:16b NLT - The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
As we are righteous, our earnest prayers have great power and will produce wonderful results.
We should not trust in our ability to follow Jesus. We should trust in His ability to keep us in Him. We should not trust in our love and zeal for God. We should trust in His love for us.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.