Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
(Matthew 26:36-46 NLT)
The garden of Gethsemane is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. This is the spot where Jesus resorted to pray often. Here in this passage we read that Jesus took His disciples with Him to pray. He took all of them (see the other gospel accounts- Mark, Luke, and John) but only Peter, James, and John went closer in to the place where Jesus prayed. They waited at a spot nearby. Luke's gospel tells us that Jesus went a little further away (about a stones cast) to Himself. This was, to me the most significant moment in the plan of salvation. Here the redemption of man hinges on the willingness of Jesus to follow through with the arrest, scourging(brutal beating), and crucifixion. I absolutely believe that Jesus was God in human flesh.
I also know that the human flesh does not like to endure suffering. None of us want to suffer. He knew what lie ahead. His spirit, soul, and body were all completely overwhelmed by the immensity of the price for sin. The agony at this moment was unimaginable. Luke's gospel says that His sweat became like great drops of blood. This only happens in a rare experience called hematidrosis (a rupturing of the capillaries surrounding the sweat glands). The blood seeps into the sweat gland and out the sweat duct. This occurs under extreme stress.
Jesus wanted His closest friends to pray with Him in that moment. Let's recognize that the hour was late, perhaps even into the early morning hours. The natural tendency is to fall asleep. We would have done the same. It's our nature. This shows two things: Jesus desire for the support of His disciples at the moment and also His great love for them even as they kept sleeping. He knows our struggles. He knew that the only hope for humanity was the decision made in that place at that time. Oh, how I am so thankful for His submission to the Will of The Father, rather than His flesh.
The first man, Adam, made the wrong choice. The Second Man, Adam(see I Corinthians 15:45) made the right choice. The first Adam ate from the wrong tree. The Second Adam, Jesus, hung on a tree. His death on the tree gave us the right to the tree of life again. Jesus is The Tree of Life.
We too should learn a lesson here: Having a place to resort in prayer and praying regularly. This helps keep our flesh in tune with the will of God.
Rev. Curtis Norris