Prayer in Gethsemane (26:36-46)
and Mocking (26:57-68)
distressed, even to death, watch, not as I will, but as You will, watch and
pray, Son of Man, forsook, fled, followed at a distance, Christ, Son of God,
denied, wept bitterly.
1. The disciples
could not keep watch with Him in the garden (40,43,45).
All the disciples forsook Him and fled (56). Peter followed at a distance (58).
The entire council was against Him and no one spoke for Him (59). Peter utterly
denied Him three times (69-74).
1a. The disciples were all confident at first (33, 35). When
Jesus was praying, they fell asleep. Jesus faced His captors calmly and
peacefully, but one of the followers fought them with the sword (50, 51). Jesus
stayed, but all the disciples fled (56). Jesus, on the other hand, remained
silent while being tried and tortured. But Peter, who was the loudest of the
disciples in declaring his loyalty, openly denied his master in the face of
danger and even swore that he did not know Jesus (74).
1b. Before the
prayer, He was sorrowful and deeply distressed, even to death (37,38). He went into the depth of the garden, fell on His face
and prayed. In His prayer, He asked to let the cup pass from Him if it were
possible. But He still asked that the Father’s will be done. Thus He prayed
three times. The book of Hebrews describes His prayer as one with “vehement
cries and tears” (Heb 5:7). After the prayer, He said with courage and
determination, “Rise, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand” (46). He
was no longer in distress or sorrow.
2a. His struggle
was with the weakness of His flesh (cf 41). According
to His will, He wished that the cup be passed from Him, but in His spirit He
wanted to submit to the Father’s will. Through His three prayers, He had completely
denied His will. Then He received strength from above, which enabled Him to
face the sufferings ahead (Lk 22:43).
2b. Our prayer should not be limited to telling God what we
want. Instead of insisting on our wishes and desires, we need to learn submission
through prayer. Because submission is a difficult lesson, we need to pray
persistently and earnestly the way Jesus prayed. If we pray fervently with the
purpose to conform our will to God’s, God will
strengthen us to accomplish His will.
3a. To keep watch with Him. The Lord brought along his three
closest disciples probably to train them to know how crucial prayer is. Not
only so, the disciples’ watchfulness would have been a great encouragement to
Him in the hour of trial.
3b. They were probably very tired (43). But the fact that they
couldn’t keep awake when critical danger was ahead of them showed that they did
not know how urgent the situation was. Perhaps their over-confidence also had a
part in their slumber. They thought they were ready for anything. But just as
the Lord had said, their spirit was indeed willing, but their flesh was weak.
Without the courage that comes from prayer, they all forsook their master and
4a. Peter, who
had learned his lesson through failure, told us that to watch means to be
clear-minded and self-controlled (1Pet 4:7 NIV). Rather than be drunken with
pleasure or blinded by our ambitions, we need to always be aware of where we
are spiritually and on the look out for temptation (1Pet 2:11). This kind of
spiritual awareness comes about through an attitude to suffer (1Pet 4:1,2) and humble self-examination (1Cor 10:11,12).
4b If we are spiritually alert and always call on God, God will
give us the wisdom and strength to withstand trials and temptations. Prayer
with faith helps us resist the devil and protects us from harm (Eph 6:10,11,18; Jas 4:7; 1Pet 5:8,9).
4c. Without watchful prayer, we would not be able to do what we
know is right. Our hearts would be “weighed down with carousing, drunkenness,
and cares of this life” (Lk 21:34). So we should
never be confident with just knowing right from wrong or with a strong
determination. We need God to strengthen our inner being (Eph 3:16).
6. The multitudes
expected Jesus to defend Himself with sword and thought that they could capture
Him with swords and clubs. They did not know that He was a king of peace and
would not resort to earthly weapons. Their large number also showed their
timidity. Why did they need all these people and weapons when Jesus had only a
few followers? Why did they not seize Him when He was teaching in public?
8. The follower
who used the sword seemed to be helping the Lord. But the Lord rebuked him
because he was using his own ways to try to please God. In our relationship
with others, including fellow Christians, we may sometimes feel justified to
rebuke or punish those who are against us because we feel that we are on God’s
side. But James tells us that our anger cannot accomplish God’s will (Jas 1:19,20). When we do things out of indignation, we are actually
led by our selfish desires. Such motive and ungodly deeds cannot please God.
9. Being helpless
is one thing, but having the power to destroy the enemies without choosing to
do so is quite another. Jesus, the Lord of hosts, could have easily crushed His
captors. But He had
self-control. He had decided to submit to the Father when He
prayed in the garden. He resisted the temptation of exercising His authority
and humbly bowed to God’s will.
11a. Both the
council and the witnesses already had the intention to kill Jesus (cf 27:1; Lk 22:67,68). Having a court session and calling upon witnesses was
no more than a formality, if not an attempt to appear fair to the public. They
also seemed to be zealous by putting Jesus to death with the charge of blasphemy.
But they never pondered whether Jesus’ claim was indeed true.
violent behavior and mocking (67,68).
12a. He entrusted
Himself to God’s will. Although He could have retaliated or threatened them, He
remained quiet and bore all the insult (1Pet 2:23).
12b. cf. Heb
12:1-4. If Christ, who was sinless, suffered without complaint, we should also
endure hardships and trust that God has His good purpose in our sufferings.
13b. He must have
loved his master so much that he felt great remorse for his failure.