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Lesson 36
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Lesson 36

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Prayer in Gethsemane (26:36-46)

Jesus Arrested (26:47-56)

Trial, Sentence, and Mocking (26:57-68)

Peter’s Denial (26:69-75)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Sorrowful, 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.

II.    General Analysis

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).

III. Segment Analysis

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 fled.

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.

11b. Their 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.

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