Prayers from Gethsemane


Reading the Word

Luke 22:39–46 (ESV)

39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Parallel Texts: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; John 18:1

Understanding and Applying the Word

It was the eve of the crucifixion and only a short amount of time before Jesus was arrested. Jesus knew that his time was short and that he would soon suffer and die. So, what did he do? He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. We are told that he was “greatly distressed and troubled” (Mark 14:33) and that he asked for the cup to be taken from him if there was any other way. The Father did not remove the cup from Jesus. There was no other way to deal with sin. Jesus had to go to the cross as a sacrifice. However, an angel did appear to strengthen Jesus.

There are two things for us to think about in this passage. First: our Savior’s death was no small thing. We may be tempted to think it was not a big deal since the resurrection was only a few days away. However, Jesus was troubled by the prospect of going to the cross. It was a no small thing, but it was the only way to secure our salvation, so our Savior went willingly.

Second: when we think about Jesus’ prayer request and the Father’s response, we must understand that our prayers are sometimes answered in different ways than we expect. The cup was not taken from Jesus, but an angel was sent to give him strength for the circumstances. God does not always remove us from the difficulty, but instead gives us the strength and perseverance to make it through. We must always say, as Jesus did, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

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