The Cross Series Part 2
Next, Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. In order to understand fully what happens here, we need to know what Gethsemane means in relation to what happens, and what was prophesied.
The word gethsemane is derived from two Hebrew words: gat, which means “a place for pressing oil (or wine)” and shemanim, which means “oils.”
The Garden is on the Mt. of Olives a place Jesus went often with His disciples as well as alone to pray. Here it is they would press olives to make olive oil, for food as well as for anointing. The process of making oil from olives was in three processes, in order to get all the oil from the olives. There was a few more 3s that happened there as well, Jesus took with Him 3 disciples to pray with Him, Peter, James, and John, Jesus prayed the same prayer 3 times, and the 3 disciples fell asleep 3 times. He also was about to drink the cup of God that involved, being the sin bearer, taking the eternal wrath of God for sin, being alienated not only by those He loved and were friends but by God the Father Himself. All of this is very important to understand.
Ok, let’s get started and dig into the Word of God. In Zechariah we are told that all of the disciples will scatter. Jesus mentions this will be fulfilled that night in Matthew.
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
31Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
After He tells them this Peter speaks up tells Him there is no way that he would leave Him.
33Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
All the disciples agreed with Peter, that they would die with Him as well.
36Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.40And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
32And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
Here Jesus takes with Him only 3 of the disciples, why these three? These three were the closet to Jesus, they were honored to see Him on the Mt. of Transfiguration, two of them were bold enough to ask to sit beside Him when He sits on His Throne and Peter was called to be a leader upon his confession at Caesarea on who Jesus was. Jesus tells them to pray with Him, He tells them that His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death, as well to pray that they fall not into temptation. This was for their good as well as for Jesus’ strength. Then He goes about a stones throw away.
Here we are going to see the struggle the LORD Jesus is going through in His humanity, He knows what is ahead, it is three things that He has never experienced, and He knew it would be the hardest most difficult to endure. Also, He will have to go through the last temptation of three by Satan, and at a time that is at His weakest point.
The first time was in the Wilderness, the second time when Peter told Him he won’t let Him die and Jesus tells Satan to get behind Him, now this time. How do we know that Satan is there?
In Luke 22:53b. but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. This is the final time that Satan will have to prevent the LORD from redeeming mankind and the Earth, it is just like Satan to tempt you at your lowest moment isn’t it?
This is the prophecy of the anguish Jesus went through in the Garden for you and for me.
Go to Isaiah 53:1-6
3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were ourfaces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised (this is crushed) for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; (and with his stripes we are healed.) *This comes later.
The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
This is the beginning of the process of crushing olives in order to make oil or crushing grapes in order to make wine.
First the branch is shaken to release its fruits, then the fruit is crushed by a huge stone, then it is crushed again in order to make sure all the oil or juice is removed. Jesus is now being shaken to the very core in His humanity.
Now Jesus goes off to pray.
41And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
39And 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. 40And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42He 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. 43And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.44And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
35And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.36And 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. 37And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 39And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.40And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. 41And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
There is so much to say concerning these verses, and it is so important that we understand and really take this to heart, this shows us clearly the struggle and the agony that Jesus went through for each of us. So many have preached that He was praying about the beatings and the death on the Cross, that is not so at all and when you understand exactly what He was praying about it should give you a greater love than you already have.
OK first Jesus told the three disciples to pray with Him, but to also pray not to fall into temptation, which means don’t give in to it when it comes. Well sadly they failed, they fell asleep and, in another study, we will read where they fell into temptation. Sometimes it takes failure to learn unfortunately. But through this lesson they discovered the great need to always pray, always pray to be able to overcome the temptation that is coming towards you.
Look at it this way, if the LORD of Glory had to pray during temptation, why would we not? He was tempted on all points as we are, yet He did not sin. Through prayer to the Father He drew strength when we pray we draw strength as well.
What would bring such sorrow, and distress the LORD so deeply? What could possibly bring Him such agony? Is there something that He does not know? The answer is yes, and that is three things He had never experienced before three things that was completely alien to Him. Was it the beatings? Was it the beard plucking? Was it the spitting upon? Or the Cross? These thing absolutely brought Him sorrow, but these things was not what He was praying about.
Second what exactly was the cup Christ didn’t want to drink?
- Becoming sin for us, as the sin bearer. He who knew no sin, He who is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY and has the vilest, and most wretched, putrid thing in the world to God placed on Him and that is sin.
- He had never known or experienced the wrath of God before.
- He had never been alone ever, that is separated from God the Father, and He is about ready to experience all three of these things.
You must understand we struggle because our nature is sinful and ever wanting to give in to temptation. But Jesus struggle is the opposite He is HOLY and His struggle was having filthy sin placed on Him. It causes Him great agony and distress. The thought of our sins placed on Him is crushing Him, so He cries out to the Father to let this cup pass if possible, but not His Will but Gods Will be done. He prayed for this hour to pass Him, the hour of the power of darkness leading all the way to the Cross.
Then the knowledge of having to endure eternities of the wrath of God was almost more than He could bear combined with our sin on Him. The eternities of the Wrath of God I am talking about is my eternity of God’s wrath and your eternity of God’s Wrath and the eternity of millions of believers Wrath of God! He was harmless, Holy, full of mercy yet for you and me He became the propitiation for sin in order to satisfy the Wrath of God on sin.
Then He knew during the time He would bear our sin and the wrath of God was being poured out that no longer would He be able to call Him Father, but God and He would be separated from God for the first time in eternities past!
The suffering, the agony, the desire to not do this was real for Jesus in His humanity, but His love for the Father and His Will kept Him focused.
God sent an angel down to strengthen our Savior, if He had not no one knows what would have happened, because Jesus prayed three times let this cup pass, but you see there was no other way for us to be saved, no other way for our sins to be cleansed, no other way for anyone else to endure the Wrath of God for us. Sin must be judged.
Do you also notice Jesus is not standing up praying which was the typical custom? No, He threw Himself on the ground and humbled Himself before the Father. He cried, He moaned, He was full of great sorrow!
Then notice He is going through the hardest thing in His life and still yet thinks of the disciples. He gets up three times from praying in order to check on them! He loved them dearly.
Here are a few scriptures that speak of the cup of God’s Wrath.
Rise up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord
the cup of his wrath,
you who have drained to its dregs
the goblet that makes men stagger.” (Isaiah 51:17)
“This is what your Sovereign Lord says,
your God, who defends his people:
‘See, I have taken out of your hand
the cup that made you stagger;
from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
you will never drink again.” (Isaiah 51:22)
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.’ ” (Jeremiah 25:15)
“Jesus said to [James and John], ‘Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?’
‘We can,’ they answered. Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant.’ ” (Matthew 20:22-23)
“Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’ ” (John 18:11)
Now the last thing to look into and that being the effects this agony and stress had on Jesus’ body.
Jesus swat great drops of blood, this is an actual condition but still a mystery.
Most studies suggest that stress and involuntary nervous system reactions cause hematidrosis or bloody sweat. Hematidrosis is also sometimes called hematohidrosis or hemidrosis.
Hematidrosis is not a medical condition, so treatment focuses on determining the underlying cause.
Fast facts on hematidrosis:
- Hematidrosis remains mysterious due to its rare occurrence.
- Hematidrosis is so rarethat studies on it usually focus on a single case.
- Research suggests that tiny blood vessels that cause bloody sweat are more likely to rupture under intense stress. The stress can be physical, psychological, or both.
- Treatment depends on the underlying cause.
Jesus was going through physical as well as psychological stress, I believe Spiritual stress as well.
“Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death —
even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)