Sermon #80 Series: Matthew
Title: LESSONS FROM GETHSEMANE
Text: Matthew 26:36-46
Reading: Off: Lindsay Campbell Aud: Bobbie Estes
Date: Tuesday Evening - April 16, 1996
Tape # S-43
Tonight we will follow the Lord Jesus Christ into Gethsemane. As we read Matthew 26:36-46 together, let us do so with great reverence and wonder. There is much in this passage of Scripture that we simply cannot fully comprehend while we live in these mortal frames.
Matthew 26:36-46 "Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. (37) And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. (38) Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. (39) And he went a little farther, 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. (40) And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? (41) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (42) He 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. (43) And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. (44) And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. (45) Then 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. (46) Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me."
The title of my message tonight is Lessons from Gehsemane. I realize that there are many deep things in this passage of Scripture which simply cannot explain, things which, honestly, I think are best left unexplained. If it were possible for a man to remove a deadly virus from his wife by drawing it into himself, I cannot imagine her trying to figure out the chemical and biological reactions of his body and mind as he suffered and died with her disease. Somehow, such curiosity would seem out of place. Wouldn’t it? It would be far more reverent and honoring to her husband for her to simply adore his great love for her.
Tonight I want us to reverently remember and adore our Savior’s great love for us and draw from his agony in Gethsemane some practical lessons by which we may honor him who loved us and gave himself for us. I will not attempt to explain to what extent our Lord’s agony here was the result of satan’s temptations. I do not know. I cannot tell you how much agony a holy, sinless person, like our Redeemer, would endure at the prospect of being made sin for us. That is altogether beyond human imagination. Neither will I attempt to explain the apparent conflict between the human and divine wills of our Savior. It is sufficient for me to know that he was at all times perfectly God and perfectly man. I leave these points alone because I know any attempt of mine to explain them would only darken “counsel by words without knowledge” (Job 38:2). However, I am certain that...
That which our Savior endured and did in Gethsemane is here recorded by divine inspiration for our comfort and learning, that we might walk in his steps.
Therefore, I want to show you seven things which are clearly set before us in this paragraph.
I. The first thing that is emphatically taught in these verses is the fact that THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY FOR THE HOLY, JUST, AND TRUE GOD TO FORGIVE SIN AND SAVE SINNERS APART FROM THE SIN-ATONING DEATH OF HIS OWN DEAR SON AS OUR SUBSTITUTE.
Why was our Lord so sorrowful? Why was his heart so heavy? Why was his soul so troubled? Why did he fall on his face and cry out to his Father three times, with strong crying and tears? What is the meaning of the bloody sweat, sore amazement, and astonishment described by the other Evangelists? Why is the almighty, the omnipotent Son of God so apparently helpless? Why is that One who by a single word raised the dead, that One who performed astonishing miracles for multitudes suddenly disturbed and cast down in his own soul? Why is the Lord Jesus Christ, who came into this world to die for sinners by the will of God suddenly filled with agony and astonishment at the prospect of death? Any thoughtful consideration of these questions forces an honest man to recognize these three facts.
A. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22).
The reason why it was impossible for the cup of God’s wrath to pass from his darling Son was just this. God almighty could not forgive sin, he could not save his people without the shedding of his precious blood. God cannot save sinners apart from the satisfaction of justice. Therefore Christ had to die.
· Romans 3:24-26
B. The weight that pressed heavily upon our Redeemer’s soul was not the prospect of death by crucifixion, but the prospect of being made sin for us.
Many, many mere men, even women and children have been known to endure terrible bodily pains without crying out and without dread. No doubt, our Lord was not less brave or strong than they. The thing that pressed upon his heart and crushed his very soul was the prospect of being made sin for us. No mere man, no not even an angel of God, can imagine what that must have been like to his holy soul!
· II Corinthians 5:21
· I Peter 2:24
Illustration: The Terror of a Chaste, Virgin About to be Cast into a Cell with Vile Men to Do with Her as They Please
As he anticipated being made sin for us, our Savior said, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” The sorrow of his soul was the very soul of his sorrow.
C. Those for whom the Lord Jesus Christ was made to be sin, for whom he suffered and died, shall most assuredly be made the righteousness of God in him and saved by his almighty grace.
Be assured, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ shall never be discovered a miscarriage. All for whom the Son of God died under the wrath of God shall be saved by the grace of God. His blood was not shed in vain.
· Isaiah 53:10-12
II. Next, we are here taught that HOLINESS OF LIFE IS NO EXEMPTION FROM TROUBLE AND SORROW.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was “holy, harmless, and undefiled.” He never did anything but good. He loved God perfectly. He loved men perfectly. “He knew no sin.” Yet, never was there a human being who suffered like the “man of sorrows.”
Job 14:1 "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble."
While we live in this world trouble and sorrow will always be the portion of our cup. We are, all of us, “born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). No creature in this world is so vulnerable as man. Our bodies, our minds, our families, our jobs, our daily responsibilities, our businesses, our friends, all are doors of trouble and sorrow. Let us, in the midst of sorrow, try to remind ourselves that our troubles and sorrows are light in comparison with...
· What we Deserve.
· What our Lord Suffered for Us.
· What Others have had to Endure.
· The Glory that Awaits Us.
· II Corinthians 4:18-5:1
III. Thirdly, we should learn from our Savior’s conduct here that PRAYER IS THE BEST CURE FOR CARE.
When Job was troubled he fell down and worshipped (Job 1:20). When Hezekiah was faced with great sorrow and trouble he spread his matters before the Lord (II Kings 19:14). And when our Lord Jesus was “exceeding sorrowful” he turned to God his Father in prayer.
The very first Person to whom we should turn with our sorrows and troubles and cares is our God and Father. Nothing is too trivial for him and nothing too great.
· Hebrews 4:16
· I Peter 5:7
· II Corinthians 12:9
This I know - Whatever our trouble is, as we look to the Lord our God for help, he will either remove the trouble or he will give us grace to bear it for his glory.
IV. Another thing taught in this remarkable passage is the fact that SUBMISSION TO THE WILL OF GOD IS ONE MARK OF CHRISTLIKE FAITH.
The words of our Savior give us a marvelous example of faith, a marvelous example of what our attitude ought to be in all things. May God give me grace always to surrender to him and say, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt...Thy will be done.” Someone once said, “He who abandons himself to God will never be abandoned by God.”
We all think we want to have our own way. But we do not know what is best for us, best for the glory of God, best for the people of God, or best for the cause of God. Only God knows what is best. We will be wise, like old Eli, ever to say, ”It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good” (I Sam. 3:18). Blessed is that person who is so well taught of God that he has learned to be content.
· Philippians 4:11-13
V. Our Lord also shows us here that THE STRONGEST AND MOST FAITHFUL BELIEVERS ARE VERY WEAK IN THIS WORLD AND ALWAYS NEED TO WATCH AND PRAY.
Here are Peter, James, and John, chosen Apostles, three of the strongest, most exemplary believers ever to walk upon the earth. Yet, here they are, with the Son of God in Gethsemane, fast asleep! When they ought to have been watching and praying, they were sleeping. The sad fact is, that is the common sin of God’s elect in this world.
· Song of Solomon 5:2-3
A. We are a people with two distinct, opposing natures, “flesh” and “spirit” (Rom. 7:14-23).
B. Our weakness is never to be looked upon as an excuse for sin, but always as a reason for watchfulness and prayer.
We must always live like soldiers in enemy territory, watchful, alert, and on guard. We cannot be too careful. We cannot be too jealous of our souls. The world is cunning. The devil is crafty. Our flesh is weak. In such a condition it is utterly foolish for us not to watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation.
VI. Sixth, we are taught that OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS A VERY TENDER, FORGIVING GOD AND SAVIOR.
Matthew 26:45-46 "Then 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."
Our Lord did not speak those words in sarcasm. He simply allowed them to rest, while he kept watch. He saw the glare of the torches approaching. The stillness of the night was broken by the trampling feet of the betrayer and the blood-thirsty mob he was leading. But the Lord Jesus speaks to these sleeping disciples, not for their sake but for ours, (They could not hear him. They were asleep!), as if to say, There is no need for you to be disturbed. I will take care of this.
VII. Once more, we should learn from this passage of Scripture that OUR SAVIOR WILLINGLY LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US.
Matthew 26:46 "Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me."
Our Redeemer did not die as the helpless victim of circumstances beyond his control. He had come into the world to come to this hour, that he might die in our place, as our sin-atoning Substitute. This is “HOW” he died for our sins, according to the scriptures.
A. He died Vicariously (John 10:11).
B. He died Voluntarily (John 10:17-8).
C. HE died Victoriously (John 19:30).
Go home now and meditate upon these seven lessons. Carry them with you through the day tomorrow. Ask God the Holy Spirit to graciously apply them to your heart and life for the glory of Christ.
1. There is absolutely no way for the holy, just, and true God to forgive sin and save sinners apart from the sin-atoning death of his own dear son as our substitute.
2. Holiness of life is no exemption from trouble and sorrow.
3. Prayer is the best cure for care.
4. Submission to the will of God is one mark of Christ like faith.
5. The strongest and most faithful believers are very weak in this world and always need to watch and pray.
6. Our Lord Jesus Christ is a very tender, forgiving God and Savior.
7. Our Savior willingly laid down his life for us.