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The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)

Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)



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The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36-46 (Pastor Heo)

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little father, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”


Conclusion: Rise! Let us go!

Our conclusion is the same: Rise! Let us go!

Even, “here comes my betrayer” – to confront/face everything that comes before us.

Last time, we saw the Passover meal and communion. In the middle of the meal, Judas ran away to betray him. After the communion Jesus took with his 11 disciples, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane (the Mount of Olives) – a private garden – he’d often used as a retreat.

Gethsemane = “oil press” – this is a significant name in the light of Jesus’ passion here. This is something we must approach on our own knees. We must observe this passage in reverence – to see his passion in this passage.

The word “passion” can be negative or positive. Here, Jesus has a “holy passion” – enthusiasm:

FIVE points:

1. The agony of Christ (v. 37-38)

“my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” – he left 8 disciples at the entrance and took only 3 inside the garden with him. He could feel the death that lay before him – death as a TRUE, real, 100% man – no man wants to die at the age of 33 – at the pain of the cross.

Here is a supreme struggle to submit his earthly will to the will of God. This was not play-acting, this was a HARD struggle – in which the salvation of the world swayed back and forth – it was at risk in the garden. Jesus had a choice to turn back and God’s will would be frustrated. All Jesus knew at this point was that he must go on continually.

Jesus started his ministry with temptation from Satan (Matthew 4) “if you are the Son of God…prove it”

  • Heb 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” 
  • Heb 4:15 “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, rather he was tempted in EVERY way just as we are, yet was without sin.”

Why was he tempted like us? So he could fully understand us, be like us, help us. This is the true reality of the incarnation.

Yet, even though he was tempted in every way, his LAST determination all the time was, “not my will; YOUR will be done.” (Even in the Lord’s Prayer we see this).

Yes, we will struggle with trials, temptations, difficulties – but if we are TRULY Christians, we must be able to say, “not my will; but YOUR will” – “not I; but Christ.”

2. The loneliness of Christ

Do you feel lonely sometimes?

Yes, there had been such a great multitude that had followed him at one time, but ALL of them abandoned him – one disciple betrayed/sold him, 8 waited for him, only THREE (Peter, James, John) went with him – this was the third time he’d taken only the inner circle with him:

  1. 1. Mt. of Transfiguration
  2. 2. Room of Jarius (resurrected his daughter)
  3. 3. Garden of Gethsemane

He wanted them to watch and pray. Jesus was entering into a very difficult time, so their prayer support would be a GREAT encouragement to Jesus – but they fell asleep THREE times in this final crucial moment. They were not “with” Jesus in spirit. Jesus had to fight his battle ALL alone.

As long as we live in this world, this is the truth for all people – there are certain things we all face, certain decisions we must make, certain times ALL other comfort and help is gone (visibly) – but remember God is always with you (was with Christ at this time too). Even when you feel ALL alone – there is the presence of Christ who also experienced this GREAT aloneness like you.

Even when you feel all alone, Jesus is there.

3. The trust of Christ

The situation is very terrible. This trust is even more visible in Mark’s account (14:36) “Jesus started his prayer with ‘Abba, Father,…’” 

There is a world of loveliness in this word – it’s not Hebrew, nor Greek – it’s Arabic meaning “Daddy” from a little child to their father. “아빠”

Until this time, no one had thought to call God by this word. But Jesus did. In his childlike, trustful, intimate way – as a little child to his Daddy.

Yes, we know what our little children call us when we are fathers. Yes, even his spiritual conviction was that God was pushing him to a cross – he called him as a little child.

Isaiah 40:55 “God’s thought/plans/ways are HIGHER than ours.” – because He is Creator – “just as far as the heavens are from the earth, so are God’s thoughts from our thoughts.” We may not be able to understand what’s happening TO us or AROUND us, but we know we can TRUST Christ – because his FINAL plan is good and best for us.

Also, we are allowed to call God “Abba” as Jesus did.

  • Romans 2:8 “You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, you received a spirit of sonship by which we call him “Abba, Father.””

Yes, even when all is against us, we can trust God as our Abba, Father.

4. The prayer of Christ

Here are three times that Jesus prayed, prayed, and prayed. Jesus wanted them to pray and watch not to fall into temptation. Jesus closed his ministry here with prayer, and his life on earth with prayer “Father, God, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing…Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Sometimes Jesus spent all night in prayer. Sometimes he rose very early (3, 4,am) to pray.

  1. He prayed before great tasks.
  2. He prayed before missionary tours.
  3. He prayed before choosing the disciples.
  4. He’s praying before the cross.

Luke “In anguish, Jesus prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

  • Heb 5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death and he was heard because of his reverent position.”

Is the SON of God needed to pray and wait, how much MORE do we need to pray and wait?

5. The courage of Christ

Even though he prayed earnestly three times about this visible situation, the situation itself did not change. Yet, in the last verse, he says, “Rise, let’s go.”

It means the time for prayer, for this garden is past, now is the time for action – to take action – to face everything set before him. He rose from his knees to go out into the battle of life.


Do you pray? In prayer, we kneel down before God. Then we can stand erect before men. The more you kneel before God in prayer, the more you can stand up before men.

  1. In prayer, we submit to the will of God, so that we can resist and defeat the will of Satan.
  2. In prayer, we meet heaven, so after prayer we can confront this earth.

This passage shows the:

  1. Agony of Christ
  2. Loneliness of Christ
  3. Trust of Christ
  4. Prayer of Christ
  5. Courage of Christ

Let’s pray.

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