Where was God when Jesus prayed in Gethsemane? Where is God when we are suffering? Can we learn obedience without suffering? I believe we can draw seven critical principles of powerful prayer from Gethsemane.
Examination of Our Text • “In the days of his flesh…” (5:7). • The term “flesh” as used in 5:7 is from the term “sarkos” and is used to denote human nature which is susceptible to pain and suffering.
Examination of Our Text • “He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death…” (5:7). • Lenskiwrites, “The great object of the writer is to describe the agony of Jesus in its full intensity. That is the depth of his humiliation. These are not ‘prayers’ such as we read of at other times, but literal begging, as well as pitiful pleadings of the man Christ Jesus in his utter dependence on God. Here there is all the weakness of the lowly flesh, the humble human nature which he bore, which accompanied his begging and pleading with agonized crying and unrestrained tears” (162).
Examination of Our Text • “He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death…” (5:7). • “Sorrowful” (Matthew 26:37) means to be “sad, distressed or grieved.” • “Very heavy” means Jesus was “crushed with anguish.” • Mark’s phrase “sore amazed” describes “the confused, restless state which is produced by mental distress, grief…disappointment” (Morris, The Cross of Jesus, 75-76). • Matthew’s phrase “exceeding sorrowful” (26:38) literally means, “grieved all around” and indicates Christ was “overwhelmed with sorrow” (NIV). (“My heart is breaking” WMS).
Examination of Our Text • “One able to save him from death,” i.e. A.B. Bruce said, “It is not so much that the prayer of Jesus was heard, as that it needed to be heard: that He needed heavenly aid to drink the appointed cup” (186). • “And He was heard because of his piety.” • The term “fear” (KJV) is rendered as “godly fear” (NKJV), “reverence” (ESV); “piety” (NASB). • Our “godly fear” and “reverence” for our Lord is tested in suffering (12:28). • In the Garden of Gethsemane we see the reversal of the narrative of the Garden of Eden, i.e. instead of “disobedience” we see “obedience” (Romans 5:19; Matthew 26:36-44; Luke 22:39-46). • Jesus had to go to the cross, but his prayer was not disregarded – God was him all the way.
Examination of Our Text • The quotation from Psalm 22 explains that while God allowed him to die and suffer physically, emotionally and psychologically – He would be victoriously resurrected. • Additionally, Jesus’ prayer for deliverance was answered both in encouragement (Luke 23:43) and in the resurrection (Psalm 22:19-21, 24; Isaiah 53:11, 12). • F.F. Bruce wrote, “At no point can the objection be voiced that because he was the Son of God it was different, or easier, for him…He recognized the path of the Father’s will, and followed it to the end” (130).
Examination of Our Text • “Although he was a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (5:8). • Experimental knowledge “perfected” the manhood of Jesus Christ (5:9) • There is a play on words, which is literally rendered as “by suffering, learning.” • To obey is to “hear” and “get under” in submission. • Brother Dan King wrote of those who deny the truth of this passage, “Against the unholy ‘reverence’ of those caught up in the Apollinarian heresy (which denied Christ’s perfect manhood) and the Monothelite heresy (which denied his possession of a human will), this passage … isthe best bulwark. The human soul of Christ’s perfect manhood “learned just as his body grew” (Luke 2:52) [King, Truth Commentaries].
Seven Critical Principles For Prayer From Gethsemane • God Hears the Prayers of the Faithful (John 11:42; Psalm 91:15; Hebrews 5:7). • Godly Fear Must Accompany Prayer (Eccl.12:13). • Answers May Differ From Requests (Matthew 26:36-39; 2 Corinthians 12:7-12). • Prayers of Faith Accept God’s Will (James 1:6; John 12:27). • Fervent Prayers are Effective Prayers (James 5:16). • Value of Suffering – Qualified Jesus as our High Priest (Heb. 2:18; 5:8-9). • Suffering Produces Sympathy (Hebrews 4:15).