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.”
Many years ago, I went through a season of discouragement. One day I called a friend, who rushed over. She sat on the couch with me as I bared my soul, wiped my snotty nose, and shed innumerable tears. It was not convenient or comfortable for her to watch and stay.
Neither was it convenient or comfortable for the disciples as they witnessed Jesus grapple with His greatest temptation. The setting was the garden of Gethsemane, which means “oil press.” Olives were crushed in presses to make olive oil. As Jesus contemplated His Father’s plan, Satan besieged Him. It is no coincidence that Satan tempted the first Adam in a garden. The last Adam, Jesus, also in a garden, faced the temptation to bypass His Father’s plan—the trials and His death on the cross.
During this time of extreme stress, Jesus sought His Father in prayer. We see Jesus prostrated on the dirt, pleading with God, “If You are willing, take this cup from Me.” His emotional distress affected His body to the extent that his perspiration is described as being like drops of blood. Jesus contemplated and battled against the physical pain, the grief of bearing our sin, the temporary disruption of the Father-Son relationship, and the drinking of God’s cup of wrath.
But God would not remove the cup from Jesus, and Jesus did not succumb to the temptation like Adam did. God’s will would be done. If redemption were to be possible for us, then “He who did not know sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21) had to bear the full punishment for our sins.
While this spiritual war raged, the disciples slept. Filled with grief, they were physically exhausted and could not stay awake to pray during Jesus’ critical time of need. Peter, who boasted earlier of great faith (Luke 22:33), failed in his faith. God instead sent an angel to strengthen Jesus. Still, the burden remained. The trials and crucifixion loomed. God’s plan intersected and demanded the way of the cross. Jesus would be crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5).
And the time had come.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Where in this passage do you see the humanity of Jesus?
- What temptations do you face, and how will you deal with them?
- Knowing Peter failed in his faith, how does this encourage or challenge you?
- What does it mean to you that Jesus bore the full punishment for your sins?
Pray for resources, opportunity, and perseverance for our global workers to continue their education, equipping and training to better open doors for the gospel in their contexts. We currently have global workers pursuing degrees in seminary studies, midwifery, and art therapy, in addition to learning language(s).