39 He went out and made his way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 When he reached the place, he told them, “Pray that you may not fall into temptation.” 41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me—nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. 44 Being in anguish, he prayed more fervently, and his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he got up from prayer and came to the disciples, he found them sleeping, exhausted from their grief. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you won’t fall into temptation.” — Luke 22:39-46
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
by Janet Waters
Have you heard the phrase you’re “on the home stretch”? That’s what someone said to me as I got closer to the end of my radiation treatments for breast cancer back in January 2018. When Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, He too was “on the home stretch” of His mission.
Jesus voluntarily laid down that part of the glory of divinity for a time (Philippians 2:7). As a baby, He didn’t know all things; He learned them (Luke 2:52). He began to comprehend as a boy and into His teen years (Luke 2:49). As Jesus went through His baptism and the 40 days in the desert, the Father began to reveal “the cup” Jesus would drink (John 1:29). Having read Isaiah 53 in synagogue school, He understood that He Himself would be the sacrifice .
The rhythm of life for Jesus the week of the Festival was teaching during the day, and then in the evening, He and the twelve disciples would stay in the Garden of Gethsemane. His last night with His disciples was spent eating a meal, the Last Supper. But instead of using this significant time with them teaching, laughing, preparing them for the days ahead, the evening degenerated into Judas’ deception, the disciples’ dispute, and their dullness about what was to happen.
About midnight Jesus and the eleven returned to the Mount of Olives to spend the night, and Jesus took Peter, James, and John further into the garden to pray. In this moment of quietude, Jesus’ heart became heavy and His spirit was in agony. He understood the “cup”—that He would pay wages in full (Romans 6:23), would bear judgment (Romans 5:12), would become sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and would propitiate it to the full (1 John 2:2). From the manner of His prayer, the intensity of His prayer, and the success of His prayer, we learn how Jesus prayed as a man to God, His heavenly Father.
- A true prayer is one of openness, honesty, and submission to the Father’ will.
- Through prayer you receive God’s love and strength to do His will, and resolute steadfastness to go through your journey.
Jesus’ prayer is one of the most revealing prayers of all time.
Thoughts loosely taken from Great Prayers of the Bible by Ralph F. Wilson
- Have you spent time at your personal Mount of Olives today?
- If Jesus needed to pray to resist temptation, how much more do we?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.