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In The Garden

By Duane Huffstutler

In The Garden

Matthew 26:36-45

John 17

Each Easter we tell the story of the resurrection and how that Jesus after 3 days was raised from the dead. We then celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and rightfully so because it is the day that we recognize the resurrection of Christ. And without the death burial and resurrection we would be without hope. But this year I feel is to be a little different than what is normal. Christ had to get through the cross to get to the resurrection. We pay little attention to the Garden of Gethsemane but that is the place where the battle for the victory over the cross took place. Christ knew that he had to die and that his mission on this earth was to die for the sins of the world. But his flesh was fighting wanting to live. How did Jesus win the victory in the garden? Let’s take a look at that for a minute.

When Jesus had finished the last supper he knew that he had to talk to the Father. This is not the first time that he had come to the garden. It was one of his favorite places to pray. There was a secluded place on the backside of the garden where he could be alone and pray and no one would bother him. His disciples knew about the place that is why Judas knew right where to find him that night. When Jesus and the disciples arrived at the garden he left most of the disciples at the entrance to the place. They were not left to guard him but his intent was for them to pray while he went on down the trail a little farther to pray. He then took his inner circle (Peter, James and John) on down the path about 20 -30 feet and told them to tarry here and watch with him. This also was not the watch as a guard, but as in pray hard with me that I can make it through this that I am about to go through and pray for yourselves that you will make it through what you are about to go through. Then Jesus went about another 20-30 feet and fell on his face and started praying.

What did he pray? First he was very sad knowing that he was about to die. So he had to pray through about this. O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. What he showed me is that he is asking God if there is any other way for redemption to come to man besides him having to die on the cross as was the previous plan. If there was any other way then he would not have to die and his flesh would be able to live out the full life that everyone else lives. But since redemption takes a sinless sacrifice and there was no other person alive that was without sin, Jesus had no choice but to accept the plan of salvation laid out before the world was formed. He had no choice but to suck it up and accept what was about to happen.

But in the process God did dispatch an angel to come and give him the strength that he needed to go through this fight for redemption (Luke 22:43). When Jesus had accepted the fact that there was no other way he went to check on his disciples and see how their prayers were going. What did he find? They were asleep. So he woke them up and told them in plain language to get up and pray or you are not going to get through your part of this trial. He also told them that the spirit inside of you is willing to do whatever it takes to win the fight but the flesh is not willing to die to let the spirit win. How many times have you been gung ho about something, but when the trial actually started it was not as easy as you thought it would be? That is just where they were. They were willing to die for Jesus at the time but when it came to standing up and claiming their allegiance to him they could not do it. They ran, scattered in the garden. After Jesus had woke them up he went back to pray again. This time he told the Father that he was willing to accept the plan and do whatever he had to do to purchase redemption. But then he went a step farther and prayed for his disciples that they would stand fast in this trial and in the time to come they would remain faithful (John 17).

He also prayed for all of the disciples that would come through the ages you and me, everyone that he would be dying for, that we would stand fast in the hard times and bring glory to the Father. He had taught them everything that they would need to know and that he had only lost one and that was in the prophecies, the son of perdition. He didn’t ask God to take them out of the world to keep them safe but that he would keep them safe in the world. He prayed that they be sanctified or set apart and kept just as God had kept Jesus. When Jesus was finished praying for the disciples and returned to them what did he find? He found them asleep again. How much like us was this? He tells us in his word to watch and pray but in our time of prayer, how many of us fall asleep and never finish the prayer? Are we too busy with everything else we think we have to do to find the time to get the sleep we need so we can stay awake and pray? Prayer is what it is going to take to get us through this time ahead. And the time ahead is going to be worse than the time that we have been through.

Why did Jesus spend so much time in prayer if it wasn’t important to survive this world? Jesus got the strength that he needed through prayer, his constant communion with the Father. Jesus was the word of God according to John 1:1 and through the writers of the Bible he gave us the written word to gain strength and told us how to pray to gain more strength. If Jesus had to pray to win his battle how much more do we need to pray to win the battles that we face? We need to take his prayer in John 17 as an example to pray for others, especially our leaders spiritual and political that the Lord will direct them to take us where we need to go. Like it or not Paul tells us in 1Timothy 2:1-6 that we are to pray for those in authority over us that we will be able to live a peaceable and godly life. Let’s try Jesus’ example and learn how it will work for us and others. Jesus won the battle through prayer and we can win our battles through prayer.

After Jesus had finished praying and won his battle then the disciples had to face their battle. They didn’t make it too well but they did come together in the end and God used them in a mighty way. But each one of them had to face a cross of their own, some on the cross, some were beheaded, and one was dipped in boiling oil and died of old age as a preacher. But each one had to face a major battle between the flesh and the Spirit; through prayer each one won their battle. Let us get serious about our time in prayer so that when the time comes for us to face the ultimate battle we will win and not have to wonder if we canit will be set in stoneWe Win.

Duane L. Huffstutler, Written 2008, Faithwriters.com

Duane L. Huffstutler is the Sunday School Director at Oak Grove Pentecostal Ministries in Bonifay Florida. All scripture is from the King James Version (1611)

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERSMAKE A WEBSITE

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