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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                  The Garden Of Gethsemane (26:36-46)

INTRODUCTION

1. The last supper of Jesus with His disciples was finished...
   a. He predicted the betrayal by Judas - Mt 26:21-25
   b. He observed the Passover, instituting the Lord's Supper - Mt 26:
      26-30
   b. He then foretold Peter's denial of Him, as they made their way to
      the Mount of Olives - Mt 26:31-35

2. Jesus and His disciples then came to a place called Gethsemane...
   a. A garden outside the city, across the Kidron brook and on the
      Mount of Olives
   b. It's name means "olive press", and was possibly a remote walled
      garden
   c. A place where Jesus often went with His disciples - Jn 18:1-2

3. Note the contrast between the Garden of Eden, and the Garden of
   Gethsemane...
   a. In the first garden, the first man fell by yielding to temptation
   b. In the second garden, the Second Man (cf. 1Co 15:47) conquered
      by yielding to the will of God

[Yes, "The Garden Of Gethsemane" was a place of victory for Jesus (and
consequently for us as well).  But the victory did not come easy, as we
notice first of all that...]

I. THE GARDEN WAS A PLACE OF SUFFERING

   A. WHERE JESUS EXPERIENCED GREAT DISTRESS...
      1. He went to pray, accompanied only by Peter, James, and John 
         - Mt 26:36-37
      2. Before He began praying, He was "deeply distressed" - Mt 26:37
      3. Mark records that He was "troubled and deeply distressed" - Mk
         14:33
      4. Later, Luke records that He was "in agony", and His sweat
         became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground 
         - Lk 22:44
      5. He was likely troubled for He knew that His hour had come 
         - cf. Jn 12:27
         a. He knew what was imminent, for He had told His disciples
            three times - Mt 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19
         b. There was not only physical pain to endure, but also the
            burden of our sins and separation from His Father as He
            bore our sins on the cross! - cf. Isa 53:6; Mt 27:46

   B. WHERE JESUS ENDURED INTENSE SORROW...
      1. He described Himself as "exceedingly sorrowful, even to death"
         - Mt 26:38
      2. The writer of Hebrews refers to His "vehement cries and tears"
         - He 5:7
      3. Again, His grief and sorrow was partly due to the fact that He
         was taking upon Himself our own griefs and sorrows! - cf. Isa
         53:4-5

   C. WHERE JESUS ENCOUNTERED SOLEMN LONELINESS...
      1. He wanted His closest disciples to watch with Him - Mt 26:
         37-38
         a. Those who had been with Him from the beginning - Mt 4:18-22
         b. Those who were privy to one of His greatest miracles - Mk
            5:37-43
         c. Those who saw Him transfigured on the mountain - Mt 17:1-2
         d. Including the disciple "whom He loved" - Jn 13:23; 19:26;
            20:2; 21:7,20,24
      2. Yet after each episode of praying, He found them sleeping - Mt
         26:40-41,43,45
         a. When He desired fellowship for comfort, there was none to
            be found
         b. The Psalmist foretold this would happen - cf. Ps 69:20

[Alone in His distress and sorrow, our Lord found "The Garden Of
Gethsemane" to be a place of great suffering for Him.  Then something
happened.  Before He left to face the mob led by Judas to arrest Him,
Jesus found that...]

II. THE GARDEN WAS A PLACE OF STRENGTH

   A. WHEN JESUS EXPRESSED AGONIZING PRAYER...
      1. The agony in His prayer is:
         a. Seen by His posture:  "He...fell on His face" - Mt 26:39
         b. Heard in His words:  "O My Father, if it is possible, let
            this cup pass from Me" - Mt 26:39,42,44
      2. It was "godly fear" Jesus expressed, and for such His prayer
         was heard - He 5:7
         a. Not that the cup (of suffering) was removed
         b. But that He would be able to drink it

   B. WHEN JESUS EXTENDED ENTIRE RESIGNATION...
      1. As evidenced by His words:
         a. "Not as I will, but as You will." - Mt 26:39
         b. "if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it,
            Your will be done." - Mt 26:42
      2. When man first said "My will, not Thine be done..."
         a. It opened the flood gate of sin
         b. It turned man out of the Paradise of God
      3. But when Jesus said "Not as I will, but as You will..."
         a. Victory over sin and access to the Tree of Life became
            possible
         b. For it prepared Jesus to go to the cross to make it 
            possible

   C. WHEN JESUS ENJOYED SPECIAL COMFORT...
      1. Jesus received an answer to His prayer - cf. Lk 22:43
         a. Not the answer He requested (let this cup pass from Me)
         b. But strength from an angel!
      2. Like the apostle Paul would pray later - cf. 2Co 12:7-10
         a. Asking the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh
         b. Receiving an answer different than requested, but more than
            sufficient to meet the need!

   D. WHEN JESUS EVINCED RENEWED RESOLVE...
      1. Strengthened, Jesus was ready to face the hour at hand - Mt
         26:45
      2. He was ready to meet His betrayer and those with him - Mt 26:
         46-47

CONCLUSION

1. So "The Garden Of Gethsemane" was a place of both suffering and
   strength...
   a. Jesus entered the garden suffering
   b. He left the garden strengthened in His resolve

2. Notice what turned the place of suffering into a place of strength:
   prayer!
   a. Prayer that is fervent and persistent
   b. Prayer in which one submits to the will of God
   c. Prayer in which one is strengthened
   d. Prayer that enables one to face the cup of life given them

3. There will be times when we must enter our "Garden of Gethsemane"...
   a. Times of distress, sorrow, loneliness
   b. But such times can also be a time of comfort and strength
   -- Provided we spend them in prayer, and be willing to accept the
      Father's will

Jesus found prayer to be the key for turning a garden of suffering into
a garden of strength.  As Christians we have a similar blessing in
prayer:

   "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
   supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known
   to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
   will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Php 4:6-7

May we never neglect to utilize this wonderful gift, especially since
we now have Jesus Himself to intercede on our behalf!

   "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed
   through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast
   our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot
   sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted
   as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to
   the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace
   to help in time of need." - He 4:14-16

   "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who
   come to God through Him, since He always lives to make
   intercession for them." - He 7:25
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