March 1, 2020

Sermon for Lent One, Sunday March 1, 2020

Preacher:
Passage: Luke 22:43
Service Type:
We had audio failure with the video this morning! Sorry!

Audio Sermon

Download Files Bulletin

Sermon for Lent One ● Remarkable Events in Holy Week ●3/1/2020
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria

Grace be unto you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 22:39–46 (NKJV)
(cf. also Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; John 18:1)
39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who prepared for the Cross with prayer,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His Perfect Sacrifice –

How do you get ready for each day?

I’m not asking about the mundane preparations you make each day like obeying your alarm, rising and showering, brushing your teeth, dressing and eating. I assume that we all do these things.

When you have a pretty good idea what you have to do for the day, do you prepare yourself?
Do you take some time to mentally prepare yourself for the day or do you just plunge into life and let it happen? Do you really know what the day will bring? Well, shouldn’t we prepare for the day?

Would you prepare for the day if you knew exactly what was going to happen? I sure hope so.

The Spirit of God tells us in the Gospel of John that Jesus ‘knew all things that would come upon Him.’ Jesus knew – as God – everything that was going to happen to him. Was that a burden or a blessing?

How did Jesus prepare for the Cross? Jesus did two things:

Jesus began by preparing his disciples for the things that would happen to Him. Jesus didn’t wait till the last moment either, weeks earlier He took them aside along the road and told them exactly what was going to happen (Matthew 20:18-19, Mark 10:32-34, Luke 18:31-34):

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”

Jesus spent Holy Week teaching and comforting His Disciples. He taught them and others in the temple each day and retired with them in the evening. After the Passover meal and the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Judas Iscariot went out and made plans to betray Jesus. In the meantime, the Savior spent the evening teaching and preparing the rest of His disciples for the events that would unfold before their eyes.

Jesus also prepared himself for the things that would happen to Him. We find Jesus doing this very thing when the first of a number of remarkable events took place. Let us follow them to Gethsemane and learn how we are to prepare for life and for death.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, you have invited me to come to you with whatever is on my heart, and you have promised to hear and answer me for Jesus’ sake. You often give me more than I can ask or imagine. When I waver or hesitate to pray, strengthen my faith in your promises, found in Your Word. Give me courage to come to you with everything in my life. Make me bold to pray and confident that you will hear and answer my prayers. Amen.
+++++++
39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

After Jesus comforted His startled and confused disciples, He led them out one of the eastern gates of the city, across the small brook called Kidron and up the hill that lay east of the city of Jerusalem. The road to the city of Bethany, two miles over the crest of the hill, made its way up the hill past a place that Jesus and his disciples frequented. There was a garden there, according to John’s Gospel (18:1-2) called Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36, Mark 14:32). Gethsemane is an Aramaic word meaning, ‘oil press’ and it is believed that the place was a grove of olive trees harvested for their oil.

Jesus disciples – including Judas – knew the place because they had spent the evening there the first part of the week (Luke 21:37). When Jesus and his disciples entered the place very late Thursday or very early on Good Friday, He did not direct them to the places they had slept the nights before, but urged them:

“Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Jesus didn’t merely encourage them to offer up a short prayer for themselves and for Him. In fact, Jesus urged them to keep on praying that the events they were to witness in the coming hours would not serve to be a trial to their faith that would cause them to fall from faith. Jesus warned all of His disciples that the hours to come would be difficult for them and that the ‘old evil foe’ would use the event to tear down their faith. He said especially to Peter (Luke 22:31-32):

“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Jesus had urged them to pray in His Prayer (Luke 11:4),
“Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Jesus urged them to pray in much the same way, asking that when temptation to doubt God’s plan or the reason for Jesus’ death came to them, that they would be led not to despair but to trust in their heavenly father. Jesus knew how difficult the days to come would be for them and so He encouraged them to constant, earnest prayer. This was not the time to sleep, it was the time to prepare.

One wonders if they had spent more time in earnest prayer whether they would have reacted differently. Would they have rejoiced with the women – instead of doubting – when they returned early on the first day of the week with news that the body of Jesus was missing?
Would the Emmaus disciples have been hopeful instead of despairing? We cannot say with any certainty.

God help us to take Jesus admonition to heart and learn how to prepare for our days. Whether our prospective itinerary is mundane or full of anxious decisions, should we not also begin by praying that the trials that come to us do not lead to doubts or sin or loss of faith, but serve to make us joyfully confident in Christ?! We should indeed offer up this selfsame prayer daily and earnestly.

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

The Gospel of Luke offers the shortest description of the events in Gethsemane. The other writers reveal that Jesus withdrew from eight of his disciples ‘a stone’s throw’ and took with him – Peter, James and John. The other writers reveal that Jesus returned to encourage his sleepy disciples three times before Judas arrived, but Luke summarizes.

It was customary among the Jews to stand while praying; but Jesus knelt and later lay on the ground while he prayed earnestly to His Heavenly Father. While some read these words and question His commitment to the Father’s plan, we will do no such thing. We have no idea what it was like for the perfect human being to deal with bearing the sin and guilt of the entire world. We have trouble dealing with guilt over small, even trivial things. Jesus had the sin and guilt of every human being laid on His innocent soul.

This wasn’t merely fear of death. We won’t pretend that Satan left Jesus alone and was silent during this time. We take Jesus’ words remembering his commitment to our redemption.

Jesus simply asked that if there was another way, that the cup of his suffering and death might be taken away. He didn’t say, “I don’t want to do this.” He didn’t question or doubt – like we do. He prayed, “Your will be done.”

If you knew that in a few short hours you were going to die – horribly – how would you react? Would you calmly call family members and the pastor? Would you check on your insurance or call the funeral director? Jesus urged His disciples to pray and then took the matter up in prayer Himself.

It was at some point that one of the truly remarkable events of Holy Week took place, recorded only here in the Gospel of Luke:

43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

It happened twice during Jesus ministry. After 40 days of being tempted to sin and to forsake the Father’s plan in the wilderness, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that angels came and ministered to Him. After such intense testing with fasting, He needed strength being fully human. It is reported (4:11):

“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

For a second time, at a time of intense testing, an angel was sent to help the man Jesus to regain His physical strength. Jesus was both God and human. Jesus’ divine nature needed no strengthening, but his human nature was weak. Jesus attended to His spiritual strength in prayer. The Angel saw to his physical strength and then Jesus used the renewed strength to continue to pray even more earnestly.

The letter to the Hebrews gives us more insight into Jesus’ agony and prayer when it says of Jesus (Hebrews 5:7):

“…who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him…”

While not revealed in the Gospels, the Holy Spirit says that Jesus prayed, crying out with tears to Him who was able to save Him from death.

We’ve all felt the pressure of stress…but not like Jesus. He was under such stress that we are told that his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground. Please notice the word ‘like.’ It says that Jesus’ sweat was like great drops of blood, it doesn’t say that his sweat became great drops of blood.

Was Jesus’ prayer heard? Absolutely, according to Hebrews He was heard and answered. Jesus received physical strength to endure the cross and the grave. God’s answer was also clear – there was no other way to save sinners except that the Son of God die in human flesh. The Son was obedient and became the author of eternal salvation to all who trust in Him.

It was a truly remarkable event when Jesus was strengthened by an angel.

Jesus was also strengthened in spirit by prayer. When He arose from prayer, he was again focused fully and committed to completing our rescue from sin and also from death. Jesus was prepared, the disciples would need to continue preparing themselves by prayer.

45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

Jesus was ready to complete His Work, being strengthened in body and spirit.

How are we prepared for daily life?

We are prepared for life by praying that the LORD Jesus keep from us any temptation that might do damage to our faith in Him.
We are prepared for the day of our death by trusting that Jesus’ life has fulfilled the demands of God’s Law; that Jesus’ death has paid our debt of sin and His glorious resurrection has removed the sting of death and the threat of eternal death.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a Friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness – Take it to the Lord in prayer (TLH 457:2)!

Amen!

Sermon for Lent One ● Remarkable Events in Holy Week ●3/1/2020
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria

Grace be unto you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 22:39–46 (NKJV)
(cf. also Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; John 18:1)
39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who prepared for the Cross with prayer,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His Perfect Sacrifice –

How do you get ready for each day?

I’m not asking about the mundane preparations you make each day like obeying your alarm, rising and showering, brushing your teeth, dressing and eating. I assume that we all do these things.

When you have a pretty good idea what you have to do for the day, do you prepare yourself?
Do you take some time to mentally prepare yourself for the day or do you just plunge into life and let it happen? Do you really know what the day will bring? Well, shouldn’t we prepare for the day?

Would you prepare for the day if you knew exactly what was going to happen? I sure hope so.

The Spirit of God tells us in the Gospel of John that Jesus ‘knew all things that would come upon Him.’ Jesus knew – as God – everything that was going to happen to him. Was that a burden or a blessing?

How did Jesus prepare for the Cross? Jesus did two things:

Jesus began by preparing his disciples for the things that would happen to Him. Jesus didn’t wait till the last moment either, weeks earlier He took them aside along the road and told them exactly what was going to happen (Matthew 20:18-19, Mark 10:32-34, Luke 18:31-34):

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”

Jesus spent Holy Week teaching and comforting His Disciples. He taught them and others in the temple each day and retired with them in the evening. After the Passover meal and the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Judas Iscariot went out and made plans to betray Jesus. In the meantime, the Savior spent the evening teaching and preparing the rest of His disciples for the events that would unfold before their eyes.

Jesus also prepared himself for the things that would happen to Him. We find Jesus doing this very thing when the first of a number of remarkable events took place. Let us follow them to Gethsemane and learn how we are to prepare for life and for death.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, you have invited me to come to you with whatever is on my heart, and you have promised to hear and answer me for Jesus’ sake. You often give me more than I can ask or imagine. When I waver or hesitate to pray, strengthen my faith in your promises, found in Your Word. Give me courage to come to you with everything in my life. Make me bold to pray and confident that you will hear and answer my prayers. Amen.
+++++++
39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

After Jesus comforted His startled and confused disciples, He led them out one of the eastern gates of the city, across the small brook called Kidron and up the hill that lay east of the city of Jerusalem. The road to the city of Bethany, two miles over the crest of the hill, made its way up the hill past a place that Jesus and his disciples frequented. There was a garden there, according to John’s Gospel (18:1-2) called Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36, Mark 14:32). Gethsemane is an Aramaic word meaning, ‘oil press’ and it is believed that the place was a grove of olive trees harvested for their oil.

Jesus disciples – including Judas – knew the place because they had spent the evening there the first part of the week (Luke 21:37). When Jesus and his disciples entered the place very late Thursday or very early on Good Friday, He did not direct them to the places they had slept the nights before, but urged them:

“Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Jesus didn’t merely encourage them to offer up a short prayer for themselves and for Him. In fact, Jesus urged them to keep on praying that the events they were to witness in the coming hours would not serve to be a trial to their faith that would cause them to fall from faith. Jesus warned all of His disciples that the hours to come would be difficult for them and that the ‘old evil foe’ would use the event to tear down their faith. He said especially to Peter (Luke 22:31-32):

“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Jesus had urged them to pray in His Prayer (Luke 11:4),
“Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Jesus urged them to pray in much the same way, asking that when temptation to doubt God’s plan or the reason for Jesus’ death came to them, that they would be led not to despair but to trust in their heavenly father. Jesus knew how difficult the days to come would be for them and so He encouraged them to constant, earnest prayer. This was not the time to sleep, it was the time to prepare.

One wonders if they had spent more time in earnest prayer whether they would have reacted differently. Would they have rejoiced with the women – instead of doubting – when they returned early on the first day of the week with news that the body of Jesus was missing?
Would the Emmaus disciples have been hopeful instead of despairing? We cannot say with any certainty.

God help us to take Jesus admonition to heart and learn how to prepare for our days. Whether our prospective itinerary is mundane or full of anxious decisions, should we not also begin by praying that the trials that come to us do not lead to doubts or sin or loss of faith, but serve to make us joyfully confident in Christ?! We should indeed offer up this selfsame prayer daily and earnestly.

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

The Gospel of Luke offers the shortest description of the events in Gethsemane. The other writers reveal that Jesus withdrew from eight of his disciples ‘a stone’s throw’ and took with him – Peter, James and John. The other writers reveal that Jesus returned to encourage his sleepy disciples three times before Judas arrived, but Luke summarizes.

It was customary among the Jews to stand while praying; but Jesus knelt and later lay on the ground while he prayed earnestly to His Heavenly Father. While some read these words and question His commitment to the Father’s plan, we will do no such thing. We have no idea what it was like for the perfect human being to deal with bearing the sin and guilt of the entire world. We have trouble dealing with guilt over small, even trivial things. Jesus had the sin and guilt of every human being laid on His innocent soul.

This wasn’t merely fear of death. We won’t pretend that Satan left Jesus alone and was silent during this time. We take Jesus’ words remembering his commitment to our redemption.

Jesus simply asked that if there was another way, that the cup of his suffering and death might be taken away. He didn’t say, “I don’t want to do this.” He didn’t question or doubt – like we do. He prayed, “Your will be done.”

If you knew that in a few short hours you were going to die – horribly – how would you react? Would you calmly call family members and the pastor? Would you check on your insurance or call the funeral director? Jesus urged His disciples to pray and then took the matter up in prayer Himself.

It was at some point that one of the truly remarkable events of Holy Week took place, recorded only here in the Gospel of Luke:

43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

It happened twice during Jesus ministry. After 40 days of being tempted to sin and to forsake the Father’s plan in the wilderness, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that angels came and ministered to Him. After such intense testing with fasting, He needed strength being fully human. It is reported (4:11):

“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

For a second time, at a time of intense testing, an angel was sent to help the man Jesus to regain His physical strength. Jesus was both God and human. Jesus’ divine nature needed no strengthening, but his human nature was weak. Jesus attended to His spiritual strength in prayer. The Angel saw to his physical strength and then Jesus used the renewed strength to continue to pray even more earnestly.

The letter to the Hebrews gives us more insight into Jesus’ agony and prayer when it says of Jesus (Hebrews 5:7):

“…who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him…”

While not revealed in the Gospels, the Holy Spirit says that Jesus prayed, crying out with tears to Him who was able to save Him from death.

We’ve all felt the pressure of stress…but not like Jesus. He was under such stress that we are told that his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground. Please notice the word ‘like.’ It says that Jesus’ sweat was like great drops of blood, it doesn’t say that his sweat became great drops of blood.

Was Jesus’ prayer heard? Absolutely, according to Hebrews He was heard and answered. Jesus received physical strength to endure the cross and the grave. God’s answer was also clear – there was no other way to save sinners except that the Son of God die in human flesh. The Son was obedient and became the author of eternal salvation to all who trust in Him.

It was a truly remarkable event when Jesus was strengthened by an angel.

Jesus was also strengthened in spirit by prayer. When He arose from prayer, he was again focused fully and committed to completing our rescue from sin and also from death. Jesus was prepared, the disciples would need to continue preparing themselves by prayer.

45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

Jesus was ready to complete His Work, being strengthened in body and spirit.

How are we prepared for daily life?

We are prepared for life by praying that the LORD Jesus keep from us any temptation that might do damage to our faith in Him.
We are prepared for the day of our death by trusting that Jesus’ life has fulfilled the demands of God’s Law; that Jesus’ death has paid our debt of sin and His glorious resurrection has removed the sting of death and the threat of eternal death.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a Friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness – Take it to the Lord in prayer (TLH 457:2)!

Amen!

Sermon for Lent One ● Remarkable Events in Holy Week ●3/1/2020
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria

Grace be unto you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 22:39–46 (NKJV)
(cf. also Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; John 18:1)
39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who prepared for the Cross with prayer,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His Perfect Sacrifice –

How do you get ready for each day?

I’m not asking about the mundane preparations you make each day like obeying your alarm, rising and showering, brushing your teeth, dressing and eating. I assume that we all do these things.

When you have a pretty good idea what you have to do for the day, do you prepare yourself?
Do you take some time to mentally prepare yourself for the day or do you just plunge into life and let it happen? Do you really know what the day will bring? Well, shouldn’t we prepare for the day?

Would you prepare for the day if you knew exactly what was going to happen? I sure hope so.

The Spirit of God tells us in the Gospel of John that Jesus ‘knew all things that would come upon Him.’ Jesus knew – as God – everything that was going to happen to him. Was that a burden or a blessing?

How did Jesus prepare for the Cross? Jesus did two things:

Jesus began by preparing his disciples for the things that would happen to Him. Jesus didn’t wait till the last moment either, weeks earlier He took them aside along the road and told them exactly what was going to happen (Matthew 20:18-19, Mark 10:32-34, Luke 18:31-34):

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”

Jesus spent Holy Week teaching and comforting His Disciples. He taught them and others in the temple each day and retired with them in the evening. After the Passover meal and the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Judas Iscariot went out and made plans to betray Jesus. In the meantime, the Savior spent the evening teaching and preparing the rest of His disciples for the events that would unfold before their eyes.

Jesus also prepared himself for the things that would happen to Him. We find Jesus doing this very thing when the first of a number of remarkable events took place. Let us follow them to Gethsemane and learn how we are to prepare for life and for death.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, you have invited me to come to you with whatever is on my heart, and you have promised to hear and answer me for Jesus’ sake. You often give me more than I can ask or imagine. When I waver or hesitate to pray, strengthen my faith in your promises, found in Your Word. Give me courage to come to you with everything in my life. Make me bold to pray and confident that you will hear and answer my prayers. Amen.
+++++++
39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

After Jesus comforted His startled and confused disciples, He led them out one of the eastern gates of the city, across the small brook called Kidron and up the hill that lay east of the city of Jerusalem. The road to the city of Bethany, two miles over the crest of the hill, made its way up the hill past a place that Jesus and his disciples frequented. There was a garden there, according to John’s Gospel (18:1-2) called Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36, Mark 14:32). Gethsemane is an Aramaic word meaning, ‘oil press’ and it is believed that the place was a grove of olive trees harvested for their oil.

Jesus disciples – including Judas – knew the place because they had spent the evening there the first part of the week (Luke 21:37). When Jesus and his disciples entered the place very late Thursday or very early on Good Friday, He did not direct them to the places they had slept the nights before, but urged them:

“Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Jesus didn’t merely encourage them to offer up a short prayer for themselves and for Him. In fact, Jesus urged them to keep on praying that the events they were to witness in the coming hours would not serve to be a trial to their faith that would cause them to fall from faith. Jesus warned all of His disciples that the hours to come would be difficult for them and that the ‘old evil foe’ would use the event to tear down their faith. He said especially to Peter (Luke 22:31-32):

“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Jesus had urged them to pray in His Prayer (Luke 11:4),
“Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Jesus urged them to pray in much the same way, asking that when temptation to doubt God’s plan or the reason for Jesus’ death came to them, that they would be led not to despair but to trust in their heavenly father. Jesus knew how difficult the days to come would be for them and so He encouraged them to constant, earnest prayer. This was not the time to sleep, it was the time to prepare.

One wonders if they had spent more time in earnest prayer whether they would have reacted differently. Would they have rejoiced with the women – instead of doubting – when they returned early on the first day of the week with news that the body of Jesus was missing?
Would the Emmaus disciples have been hopeful instead of despairing? We cannot say with any certainty.

God help us to take Jesus admonition to heart and learn how to prepare for our days. Whether our prospective itinerary is mundane or full of anxious decisions, should we not also begin by praying that the trials that come to us do not lead to doubts or sin or loss of faith, but serve to make us joyfully confident in Christ?! We should indeed offer up this selfsame prayer daily and earnestly.

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

The Gospel of Luke offers the shortest description of the events in Gethsemane. The other writers reveal that Jesus withdrew from eight of his disciples ‘a stone’s throw’ and took with him – Peter, James and John. The other writers reveal that Jesus returned to encourage his sleepy disciples three times before Judas arrived, but Luke summarizes.

It was customary among the Jews to stand while praying; but Jesus knelt and later lay on the ground while he prayed earnestly to His Heavenly Father. While some read these words and question His commitment to the Father’s plan, we will do no such thing. We have no idea what it was like for the perfect human being to deal with bearing the sin and guilt of the entire world. We have trouble dealing with guilt over small, even trivial things. Jesus had the sin and guilt of every human being laid on His innocent soul.

This wasn’t merely fear of death. We won’t pretend that Satan left Jesus alone and was silent during this time. We take Jesus’ words remembering his commitment to our redemption.

Jesus simply asked that if there was another way, that the cup of his suffering and death might be taken away. He didn’t say, “I don’t want to do this.” He didn’t question or doubt – like we do. He prayed, “Your will be done.”

If you knew that in a few short hours you were going to die – horribly – how would you react? Would you calmly call family members and the pastor? Would you check on your insurance or call the funeral director? Jesus urged His disciples to pray and then took the matter up in prayer Himself.

It was at some point that one of the truly remarkable events of Holy Week took place, recorded only here in the Gospel of Luke:

43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

It happened twice during Jesus ministry. After 40 days of being tempted to sin and to forsake the Father’s plan in the wilderness, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that angels came and ministered to Him. After such intense testing with fasting, He needed strength being fully human. It is reported (4:11):

“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

For a second time, at a time of intense testing, an angel was sent to help the man Jesus to regain His physical strength. Jesus was both God and human. Jesus’ divine nature needed no strengthening, but his human nature was weak. Jesus attended to His spiritual strength in prayer. The Angel saw to his physical strength and then Jesus used the renewed strength to continue to pray even more earnestly.

The letter to the Hebrews gives us more insight into Jesus’ agony and prayer when it says of Jesus (Hebrews 5:7):

“…who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him…”

While not revealed in the Gospels, the Holy Spirit says that Jesus prayed, crying out with tears to Him who was able to save Him from death.

We’ve all felt the pressure of stress…but not like Jesus. He was under such stress that we are told that his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground. Please notice the word ‘like.’ It says that Jesus’ sweat was like great drops of blood, it doesn’t say that his sweat became great drops of blood.

Was Jesus’ prayer heard? Absolutely, according to Hebrews He was heard and answered. Jesus received physical strength to endure the cross and the grave. God’s answer was also clear – there was no other way to save sinners except that the Son of God die in human flesh. The Son was obedient and became the author of eternal salvation to all who trust in Him.

It was a truly remarkable event when Jesus was strengthened by an angel.

Jesus was also strengthened in spirit by prayer. When He arose from prayer, he was again focused fully and committed to completing our rescue from sin and also from death. Jesus was prepared, the disciples would need to continue preparing themselves by prayer.

45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

Jesus was ready to complete His Work, being strengthened in body and spirit.

How are we prepared for daily life?

We are prepared for life by praying that the LORD Jesus keep from us any temptation that might do damage to our faith in Him.
We are prepared for the day of our death by trusting that Jesus’ life has fulfilled the demands of God’s Law; that Jesus’ death has paid our debt of sin and His glorious resurrection has removed the sting of death and the threat of eternal death.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a Friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness – Take it to the Lord in prayer (TLH 457:2)!

Amen!