I wrote an earlier post with some of the background on Gethsemane, where our Lord prayed before being arrested, taken away, and ultimately crucified. Some more thoughts popped into my head after reading some of my notes, so I thought I would share.
And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
As we covered in an earlier post, this may or may not have been the exact place that Jesus prayed that prayer.
Whether or not this was the exact place really doesn’t matter, as He did pray somewhere in the Gethsemane area at the foot of the Mount of Olives. He asked God His Father to remove this cup yet remained willing to do the will of His Father. This is almost impossible for me to get my mind around to be honest. As God Himself in the flesh, Jesus knew from eternity past what the plan of redemption was for humankind, so what was coming was certainly no surprise. I want to talk about Jesus the man for just a moment.
As Jesus kneeled there praying, knowing what was coming, I imagine some other things happened as well, and some things went through our Lord’s mind. As we discussed earlier, this would have been late in the night and would have been dark and still as the Pilgrims camping all settled in for the night.
While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him
And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
A great multitude with swords and staves. Priests, members of the Temple Guard, and who knows else, led by Judas the betrayer, came to arrest our Lord. One thing to remember is that they didn’t just show up out of nowhere. Look at this, the view from the Gethsemane area towards the Eastern Gate, where the multitude would have exited, walked around to cross the Kidron Valley, then to Gethsemane.
This event would have not gone unnoticed by anyone in the area, yet only our Lord would have known what all of the ruckus was really about. A group, possibly large, of armed men and others, all carrying torches had left the gate of the city and begun the trek to Gethsemane.
Of course Jesus(God) knew from before the foundation of the Earth what was to happen that night. What about Jesus the man? I won’t even try to understand the division between what Jesus as God, and Jesus as man understood in each role, but I can’t help but think that Jesus the man clearly understood the significance of those armed men marching His way was. Can you, readers, imagine that? What might WE have done. Those men didn’t cross the Kidron Valley in mere seconds; it took a while for them to make that trip. It would have been simple and easy for Jesus and his Disciples to simply fade into the Judean hills where they would have been almost impossible to find. He didn’t do that, did He? As usual with the life of Jesus, there are lessons for us here.
Jesus prayed. He prayed several different times, in fact, as he had to go twice to awaken his sleeping disciples. When He could have cut and run into the hills, He chose instead to continue praying.
He submitted to the will of the Father.
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.
Our Lord went willingly. Knowing well what was to transpire: that he would be whipped, mocked, beaten, humiliated, and ultimately would die, our Lord went through all of that willingly. This is perhaps the most significant thing about this evening, was the willingness of Jesus to die to pay the penalty of our sins.
He did that for all of us. How willing are we?