Luke 22 - Lest I Forget Gethsemane
Luke 22 – July 26
Luke 22 is one of the fullest chapters in the Bible. Although it is not the longest chapter by word count in the New Testament, it is not far behind the leader (Romans 16). When the chapter begins, the Passover has not yet started, the twelve disciples are still together, and the scribes and Pharisees were still unable to hatch a plot that would result in a crucified Jesus. Seventy-one verses later, Jesus has been arrested, Judas has turned traitor, the disciples have been scattered, Jesus has been arrested, and the religious elites have been handed their opportunity to crucify the Lord of glory. In a chapter like this, it becomes quite difficult to determine exactly where to turn our focus. But, for today I have selected the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane.
Gethsemane was a garden in the center of an olive grove located where olives grow, the Mount of Olives. It was not a proper home, but there was likely a small cabin there, possibly surrounded by olive presses. The owner of the trees would occupy the building during the harvest. But, for the rest of the year, it would have been used similarly to a modern-day AirBnB. This is where Jesus and His disciples were staying each night. This allowed Jesus to have a private place to go without the crowds following or the Sanhedrin snooping. But this night in the garden would be different than any other.
Yesterday we considered the need to stay awake. In our text today, we recognize that the disciples failed in that mission. At the outset of this time in the garden, at the height of Jesus’ emotional affliction, He is left utterly alone by His friends. If you have ever felt lonely or isolated when experiencing a trial, He can empathize. The gargantuan task set before Him was greater than any feat ever set before another man. In the greatest moment of spiritual warfare ever fought through prayer, Jesus was alone before the Father. Minutes later, the Shepherd would be struck and the sheep would scatter.
Jesus commanded the disciples to pray “so that they would not fall into temptation.” Do you remember the last time Jesus was tempted? At the end of that temptation, “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13) We are told that after His temptation in the wilderness Jesus was ministered to by angels. (Mark 1:13) It appears as though the cause of Jesus’ agony was due to the combination of temptation from Satan and the full awareness of what is about to happen to Him.
Luke informs us that the distress of Jesus was so intense that “His sweat became like great drops of blood.” This may be speaking of literal blood. It is possible for extreme stress to cause the blood vessels in the forehead to burst resulting in blood mixing with sweat. It may be highlighting the fact that the evening air on the mount should have been cool that spring evening, yet His agony was so great that the sweat droplets were the size of gushing blood. Regardless, the point is clear. The suffering of Jesus began well before the cross.
Why such agony? The answer is found in His request. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Jesus is not asking for the removal of the physical suffering that He was about to face. That suffering did not even register on the scale compared to the greater suffering that He would experience in a few short hours. It is the cup of wrath that He pleads to be removed.
The cup of wrath is an Old Testament expression of judgment. We find it in various places like Jeremiah 25, Isaiah 51, and Psalm 75. It is always a reference to the full force of God’s fury that will be the drink of His enemies. Jesus was in agony over the unvented wrath of God that was about to be placed on Him. Consider Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt…”
Let me leave you today with two takeaways to help you live for Christ.
- The love of God for you is objectively on display in the garden of Gethsemane. How could we question the love of Jesus for us when we see His commitment to the mission?
Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.
- Hymn: Jennie E Hussey – “Lead me to Calvary”
- In the first garden, Adam and Eve plunged the world into sin and death by listening to the tempter and dishonoring the Lord. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus overcame temptation and committed Himself to the will of the Father. When you are tempted to do your will in contrast to God’s will, follow in the footsteps of your Savior and say, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
Your will be done, my God and Father As in heaven, so on earth
My heart is drawn to self-exalting Help me seek Your kingdom first
As Jesus walked, so I shall walk Held by Your same unchanging love
Be still my soul, O lift your voice and pray: ‘Father, not my will but Yours be done.’
How in that Garden he persisted I may never fully know
The fearful weight of true obedience it was held by him alone
What wondrous faith, to bear that cross! To bear my sin, what wondrous love!
My hope was sure, when there my Savior prayed: ‘Father, not my will but Yours be done.’
- Song: CityAlight – “Your Will Be Done”