Matthew 26:36 “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder.”
Three times it is written of the battles, when our Lord Jesus faced the Adversary alone.
The first was in the temptation in the wilderness for forty days. (Matthew 4)
The second was in Gethsemane.
The third was on the cross.
Here, we will speak of Gethsemane, and the terrible mental and physical battle which was brought against Jesus, by the forces of darkness.
Jesus knew He would have to face the cross alone.
John 16:32 “Behold, the hour cometh, Yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”
But at Gethsemane, He wanted His closest disciples to be near to Him as He wrestled against the devil’s suggestions. (I believe the devil’s suggestions were: “He would be forsaken in death, and lose everything. Everything He has done was for nothing.”)
But they slept for sorrow.
He had told them He would be leaving them, and that one of them would betray Him, so they were sad, and sleepy. (John 16:5-6, 17, 28)
At Gethsemane, a garden which Jesus often visited for times of prayer, Jesus left eight of His disciples at a small distance, and took the three closest disciples: Peter, James, and John further. Then He went a little farther on to pray.
He asked them to wait with Him in prayer. He wanted them to pray for the trials that would be coming up.
For their own faith to be strengthened, and for their courage in the face of His leaving them.
Matthew 26:38 “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”
They had been told many times that He was going to Jerusalem, and that the chief priests and elders would kill him and He would be raised the third day.
But they had not really heard what He said.
Luke 9:22 “Saying, the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.”
They were not prepared, as they could have been. And their sorrow at His leaving, was weighing down their hearts, and affecting their hearing.
(If you read John 15-17 , where He plainly tells them of things to come; you will understand that their “hearing” was not working right)
Jesus left them, and went and fell down to pray; His greatest comfort was the Father and Holy Spirit with Him.
But now the time for the Lamb of God to be slain for the sins of the world was very near.
Everything from the Last Supper, where Judas went out to betray Him, till He died on the cross, was one continuous piling on of sufferings.
The horror of the coming attacks, both from Judas, the chief priests and ruling religious body, the Roman soldiers beatings, And the rejection of the very people who had hailed Him: “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna to the highest.” (Matthew 21:9) a few days earlier.
And the cross. The agony of the nails, the thirst, the mocking crowds, and mostly: our sin being put upon His holy person, and the separation of the Father from Him for a time, because of this.
Sufferings He went through alone.
But here in Gethsemane the devil’s attacks mentally and emotionally were so severe: “even unto death”, Jesus said.
We are not permitted to hear what the devil says to Jesus, but the thoughts of being deserted forever:
“ God will not bring You out of the death of sin. Sin brings death, and if you go to the cross and become the sin bearer, You will forfeit God’s promise of life. It will weigh You down and You will never come out of death.”
Also the thought that with all these sufferings He would have to go through as man, that He would not be able to go through these sufferings without breaking down. Then He would fail and He would not bring salvation to the world.
The devil’s attacks were so great against the Lord, that “being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)
The first prayer:
Matthew 26:39 “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
Mark 14:36 “ And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”
Jesus came on the basis of relationship: “O my Father” and asked that if it were possible, according to His Will, that “this cup” or salvation through the cross, might be changed.
Jesus asked because “all things are possible unto Thee”. God could come up with another way of Salvation.
But Jesus would not have God’s Will changed.
He knew the Value of The Father’s Will, and yielded to it.
His Father sent an angel unto him, “strengthening him.”(Luke 22:43)
The second and third prayers:
Matthew 26:42 “And went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.”
“Thy will be done.” “Not my will, But Thine be done”
Three times Jesus prayed. Once, for conformation of God’s Promises :to find out if it were possible to change the way of salvation—the cross.
When He received His answer, God’s Will was yielded to.
The other two were prayers that the Father’s Will might be honored in His sacrifice, and resurrection.
You see, by the end of the battle at Gethsemane, Jesus was confident in His Father’s love,
in His Father’s strength to help Him go through everything,
and in His Father’s Promises, to raise Him up and save His people from their sins by this.
Even though He would be alone; He trusted in God, and His trust was honored.
He went through everything, He died on the cross for us, and was raised again the third day in Victory over every enemy.
His Salvation is a complete Salvation. Do you have Jesus as your Lord and Savior?