GethsemaneBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, December 28, 2008.
Gethsemane A. The Gethsemane experience of Jesus Christ is recorded in MAT 26:36-46; MAR 14:32-42 and LUK 22:39-46. B. Prior to His bodily sufferings climaxing in His crucifixion, Jesus entered into a garden (JOH 18:1) called Gethsemane to acquaint His soul with grief. 1. Man consists of body, soul and spirit. 1TH 5:23. 2. The soul belongs to the inward parts. JOB 14:22. 3. The soul of Jesus Christ was included in His ordained sufferings. ISA 53:10-12. 4. Death's entrance into the world was first experienced in the inward man (GEN 2:17) and later of the body. GEN 5:5. a. Thus it was appropriate that Christ's sufferings to undo death should begin with soul-sufferings before body-sufferings. b. The significance of Christ's Gethsemane experience is that He truly suffered here. 5. Note how central the garden is to the work of God in history. a. Death began in the garden of Eden. b. The undoing of death began in the garden of Gethsemane. c. The dominion of death ended in a garden. JOH 19:41. C. Gethsemane was on the mount of Olives. LUK 22:39. 1. Gethsemane is from a Chaldee word meaning “oil press.” It is a compound word derived from: a. Gath (H1660) which denotes a “wine press (or vat for holding the grapes in pressing them): - (wine-) press (fat).” b. Shemen (H8081) which denotes “grease, especially liquid (as from the olive, often perfumed...” 2. In the tabernacle which foreshadowed Christ, pure olive oil was beaten for the light to cause the lamp to burn always. EXO 27:20. 3. As the olive is bruised in the press, so it pleased the Lord to bruise Christ. ISA 53:5, 10. 4. God had ordained Christ to be anointed with the oil of gladness. PSA 45:6-7 c/w HEB 1:8-9. a. The fullness of that gladness would have to await His sufferings. HEB 12:2. b. The intense pressure of the weight of sin upon Him (ISA 53:6) and the anticipation of the wrath of God those sins demanded would squeeze any gladness He may have already had completely out of Him. c. He would here begin to experience the fullness of being the prophesied “man of sorrows” (ISA 53:3). D. MAT 26:37 says that He “...began to be sorrowful and very heavy.” 1. Heretofore, the sword of God's justice had been at rest but now it was awakened to duty. ZEC 13:7. 2. Here was the beginning of His baptism into sorrowful sufferings which would overflow His soul. LUK 12:50 c/w PSA 69:1-4; 18:4-5; 55:4-5; 88:3; 116:3. 3. Here His soul began to be “...exceeding sorrowful, even unto death...” (MAT 26:38). Nothing short of His death would end these sorrows. JOH 19:30. 4. MAR 14:33 says He “began to be sore amazed...” Here is mental turmoil. a. Amaze: “To put out of one's wits; to stun or stupefy, as by a blow on the head; to infatuate, craze.” b. The burden that He was carrying and the horror He was facing were driving Him crazy. c. LUK 22:43-44 shows that even after being strengthened by an angel, He was in “an agony.” i. Agony: “Anguish of mind, sore trouble or distress, a paroxysm of grief.” ii. Paroxysm: “A violent access of action or emotion; a fit, convulsion (e.g. of laughter, excitement, rage, terror, etc....” iii. This was not a “handshake” acquaintance with grief (per ISA 53:3) but a violent, convulsive acquaintance with grief that crazes one. iv. So horrible was this agony that “...his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.” The press was squashing the very components of His physique to the point of meltdown. aa. This sweat was not owing to the heat of the night. JOH 18:18. bb. Sweat entered as an adjunct to sin (GEN 3:19). Here, the cure (blood) mingled with the curse. Our works would not be acceptable without the blood. E. Christ separated Himself from the disciples as He went to the Father in prayer. MAT 26:39. 1. In this place of the press, He would tread the winepress alone. c/w ISA 63:3. 2. He was alone in that He had none to help Him in prayer. c/w PSA 142:4. 3. He was alone in that He only would undergo the winepress of the wrath of God. F. He “...fell on his face, and prayed...” (MAT 26:39). 1. Previously, He had had no problem in lifting up His eyes in prayer. JOH 11:41; 17:1. 2. But here the weight of our sins was so heavy upon Him that He could not do so. PSA 40:7-8, 12 c/w LUK 18:13. 3. He prayed that if it were possible, “...the hour might pass from him” (MAR 14:35). a. The “hour” that He begged leave of was that of His betrayal unto the power of darkness. v.41 c/w LUK 22:53. b. His prayer, “if it be possible” (MAT 26:39) was predicated on the fact that with God all things are possible (MAR 14:35-36). This was a prayer of faith. c. But Jesus' desire was ever subject to the will of God (JOH 4:34; 5:30; 6:38) so He said, “...nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” This is the resolve of faith. d. He prayed, “Abba, Father...” (MAR 14:36) that His children by the same Spirit might likewise take their agonies to a Loving Father while subjecting their prayers to His will. ROM 8:15; GAL 4:6. e. In response, God sent an angel to strengthen Him. LUK 22:43 c/w PSA 89:21; 138:3. i. Angels from heaven must deliver no message that differs from what God has revealed in His word. GAL 1:8. ii. Since the Scriptures are given for comforting/strengthening (ROM 15:4), perhaps the angel recited PSA 16:10-11. iii. Being strengthened, He did not give in to the agony, and “...prayed more earnestly...” LUK 22:44 c/w HEB 5:7. iv. When burdened, we do well to remember that prayers for help might be answered by increased strength rather than removal of the burden. 1CO 10:13. 4. Christ prayed three times before He received an answer of peace. c/w 2CO 12:8-9. a. It was said that he “...spake the same words” (MAR 14:39). b. This is not the “vain repetition” of the heathen (MAT 6:7) who think to obtain their will by ritual chanting. This is godly persistence in prayer (LUK 18:7) that seeks God's will. c/w HEB 10:5-10. c. The effectual fervent prayer of this righteous man availed much (c/w JAM 5:16). Christ came to peace with the justice and will of God. c/w 2SAM 12:19-20. G. Throughout all this, the disciples kept falling asleep. 1. They had just previously expressed their resolve to stand strong (MAT 26:35) but here they could not even stay awake. 2. Mind that although Christ's disciples may be asleep when they should be watching does not mean that Christ's enemies are asleep. MAR 14:43. a. The wicked will diligently avoid sleep to accomplish their goal. PRO 4:16-17. b. It is when men sleep that the enemy sows tares. MAT 13:24-25. 3. LUK 22:45 says that Jesus found them “...sleeping for sorrow.” a. They had been most recently sorrowing over doubts about their own integrity. MAT 26:22. b. Jesus addressed them tenderly, “Sleep on now, and take your rest...” (MAT 26:45). c. How often has Jesus found us worn out from our own self-doubts and remembered the weakness of our flesh instead of our non-performance? PSA 103:13-14.