Our Time Alone With God. Jesus, with His Sleeping Disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:39-46

Luke 22:39-46Amplified Bible

The Garden of Gethsemane

39 And He came out and went, as was His habit, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed Him. 40 When He arrived at the place [called Gethsemane], He said to them, “Pray continually that you may not fall 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 [of divine wrath] from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” 43 [a]Now an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony [deeply distressed and anguished; almost to the point of death], He prayed more intently; and His [b]sweat became like drops of blood, falling down on the ground. 45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not fall into temptation.”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Jesus’ final hours of suffering and death were the weakest moments of his life.

They were the weakest moments ever experienced by any human being.

Jesus drank the bitterest cup any human ever drank.

His closest friends betrayed him, denied him, fled from him.

Jesus was convicted in a sham trial, mocked and flogged, tortured and stabbed.

While on the cross, it seemed that even his Father in heaven had abandoned him. He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Finally he gave up his spirit and died. He knew all this was coming.

How did he prepare?

How could anyone prepare for the ultimate torture?

AS WAS HIS HABIT ….

Jesus turned to the source of his strength: his Father.

Jesus pleaded with God he would not have to face the horror of death on a cross.

But there was only one thing he wanted more than avoiding the cross; it was obedience to God.

At the conclusion of his prayer, Jesus set aside his own desire for safety, comfort, and peace.

“Not my will, but yours be done.”

Can there be any better way to turn weakness to strength?

Jesus himself modeled for us the very kind of habits and rhythms of life we need in any age.

Even as God in human flesh, he prioritized time alone with his Father.

Imagine what “good” he might otherwise have done with all those hours.

But he chose again and again, in perfect wisdom and love, to give his first and best moments to seeking his Father’s face.

If Jesus, even Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, in his coming anguish carved out such space in the demands of his human life, should not we all the more?

Our own struggles and suffering will never compare to the titanic struggle between good and evil that Jesus willingly chose.

But his prayerful solitary choice to steadfastly obey his Father over any other choice comforts and strengthens me as I fervently pray it strengthens you too.

His victory is mine.

His victory is yours!

We may have but glimpses of Jesus’s habits and personal spiritual practices in the Gospels, but what we do have is by no accident, and it is not scant.

We know exactly what God means for us to know, in just the right detail — and we have far more about Jesus’s personal spiritual rhythms than we do about anyone else in Scripture.

And the picture we have of Christ’s habits is not one that is foreign to our world and lives and experience.

We find timeless and trans-cultural postures that can be replicated, and easily applied, by any follower of Jesus, anywhere in the world, at any time in history.

How many of us have the presence of mind, and heart, and soul, and spirit, to discern and prioritize, genuinely actualize, solitary prayer time as Jesus did?

The account of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before being taken away to be crucified is one of the most personal glimpses into the relationship between Jesus and his Father, God.

It shows us the close relationship and trust Jesus had with his Father.

Jesus went to the Father with his deepest troubles, honestly cried out to Him.

Not only did Jesus trust God with his fears, sadness, and requests, he also trusted the perfect plan God had for his future.

Even when it would cost him his life, Jesus trusted the will of his Father and even prayed for it.

Jesus lived on Earth as a man for 33 years.

In the Gospels, we have a record of the three years he spent in ministry.

As he traveled preaching the gospel, healing the sick, and training up disciples, all the while Jesus knew what was coming and how his life would end.

He knew that his purpose on Earth was to become the perfect lamb to be sacrificed for the sins of the world.

He understood to become that perfect sacrifice he would suffer greatly, be put to death, have the relationship between him and the Father broken for a time.

In these verses, we get a glimpse of Jesus as being fully man and fully God.

We see his anguish, fear, and dread.

He was overwhelmed and sorrowful as he is betrayed and abandoned.

Jesus was suffering in his soul as well as in his body.

It was a sorrow that leads to death.

A sorrow that you and I couldn’t survive; soul sorrow; even agony.

Every one of us can identify with deep sorrow on some level. 

At some point in our lives, most of us have felt these deep emotions, maybe even to the point of wishing we would die instead of suffering so much.

These feelings are human.

There is nothing sinful about any of them.

Even Jesus felt this way.

It’s what we choose to do with these feelings that matters most.

Just Go Away to A Solitary Place ….

P.U.S.H. – Pray Until Something Happens – against the Gates of Heaven.

Luke 22:45-46Amplified Bible

45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not fall into temptation.”

Take a minute, read and observe what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Notice the actions, and then notice the LACK of actions of the disciples ….

We Need Each Other’s Times of Solitary Prayers ….

The gospel accounts describe Jesus as being in a type of agony.

He was sorrowful and very heavy; signifying a sorrow that makes a man neither fit for company nor desirous of it.

Even so, the first thing we see Jesus do is to gather his closest friends for support.

He doesn’t bring all twelve disciples to Gethsemane, only three; the closest three, Peter, James, and John.

These were the ones who also had witnessed his glory in his transfiguration.

Peter, James, and John have witnessed Jesus’ glory as no one else had.

Because of their witness, they are probably the most prepared of all the disciples to witness his agony.

They know Jesus in a different way than the others.

So Jesus chooses them to share in his emotional agony.

He rallies them for companionship and asks them to pray.  

This is a lesson for us. Jesus gathered his friends and expresses his sorrow.

We need friends too; not as a substitute for God, but as an earthly comfort.

There’s a delicate balance between oversharing and putting on a happy face to suffer in silence.

In times of greatest heartbreak, grief, and sadness, we need our closest friends to surround us.

We need to share our feelings with them asking for support, companionship, and prayer.

But, as we read the Gospel account, the disciples fell asleep ….

Friends may fall asleep on us, but God does not!

Jesus returns to the three disciples he has brought with him and finds them sleeping.

He has brought them along so that they would keep their solitary watch and pray with him, and thoroughly fatigued from the day, they have fallen short.

Once again, a lesson for us. Our closest friends and family are important resources for us, especially when we are going through tough times.

However, they can never replace the perfect comfort, reliability, and peace that only God can supply.

As humans, we fall short, we fail each other all the time.

Our intentions are good and honest, but sadly, our own emotions, priorities, schedules, and opinions get in the way of being ‘everything’ for someone else.

ONLY GOD can do that.

God is always awake and aware ….

Psalm 121The Message

121 1-2 I look up to the mountains;
    does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
    who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4 He won’t let you stumble,
    your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
    Guardian will never doze or sleep.

5-6 God’s your Guardian,
    right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
    sheltering you from moonstroke.

7-8 God guards you from every evil,
    he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
    he guards you now, he guards you always.

It appears that God didn’t answer Jesus’ prayers.

At the very least, it would seem that Jesus was told, “No. I will not stop this punishment by death.”

It’s true, God’s perfect will was for Jesus to die and become the sacrificial lamb for the sins of the world.

He did not stop that from happening.

But he did answer Jesus’ prayer.

He sent an angel to strengthen Jesus to give him the encouragement, the ability to carry through the most daunting task in history which awaited before him.

Also, he rescued Jesus from death.

Although Jesus would suffer greatly and it would be painful for a time, he didn’t allow Jesus to stay dead.

He brought him back to life, took him to heaven to sit a the right hand of the Father. 

Thankfully, for our sakes and for all of humanity, Jesus’ solitary prayer was answered in the perfect will of our sovereign God.

Because of Jesus’ solitary, steadfast obedience to the will of His Father we have a singularly unique solitary and prayerful relationship with Jesus Christ today.

As it was HIS Habit, Let it also become OUR Habit

That’s why I love this account of Jesus in the Garden so much.

It shows me the humanity of Jesus, his agony in trusting, obeying the Father.

It shows me that it’s OK to struggle and plead with God.

It shows me that trusting God is hard work and won’t always come easily.

It also shows me that trusting and obeying is between me and God – no one else can do the hard work for me.

I see that even though I may not understand God’s will for me at the moment, God has a single, solitary, uniquely mine plan for all my future circumstances.

Even when he answers my prayers differently, singularly, uniquely, solitarily, than I had hoped, this Gospel Narrative teaches me that His plan is always best. 

So, let’s take this example from Jesus.

Let’s worship Him for how he trusted and obeyed the Father so that we could be saved and have a relationship with him forever.

And, let’s continue to work on our own trust issues, as we work on trusting and obeying Him, even when we do not understand the plan – It is our only HOPE.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 42The Message

42 1-3 A white-tailed deer drinks
    from the creek;
I want to drink God,
    deep drafts of God.
I’m thirsty for God-alive.
I wonder, “Will I ever make it—
    arrive and drink in God’s presence?”
I’m on a diet of tears—
    tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long
    people knock at my door,
Pestering,
    “Where is this God of yours?”

These are the things I go over and over,
    emptying out the pockets of my life.
I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd,
    right out in front,
Leading them all,
    eager to arrive and worship,
Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—
    celebrating, all of us, God’s feast!

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God.

6-8 When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
    everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
    including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
    to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
    crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
    sing songs all through the night!
    My life is God’s prayer.

9-10 Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
    “Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears,
    harassed by enemies?”
They’re out for the kill, these
    tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day,
    “Where is this God of yours?”

11 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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