December 6, 2020

Jesus on the Mount of Olives (in the Garden of Gethsemane)

Passage: Luke 22:39-53

Jesus and the disciples had just finished the Last Supper. After the meal, Jesus led the disciples to a familiar spot on the Mt. of Olives. Luke doesn’t mention the name of the place, but we know it was the Garden of Gethsemane.

Many Bible students have noticed the fact that man fell into sin in a garden, and Jesus begins his work of atonement for sin in a garden. The first Adam gave in to temptation in a garden, while Jesus, the “last Adam” (1 Cor 15:45), overcame temptation in a garden. Human sin began in a garden, and Jesus begins the process of solving the problem of sin in a garden. It’s only because Jesus succeeded where Adam failed that we have the hope of eternal life.

The disciples did not respond well to this situation. They failed to “watch and pray” with Jesus, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss, and a bit later, Peter denies Jesus three times. So the disciples don’t acquit themselves well here. Their weaknesses and failures are on open display in this passage.

Besides spiritual failures, another key theme to watch for here is prayer. Jesus urges the disciples to pray, and he agonizes in prayer. We should follow Jesus’ example here rather than the example of the disciples.

Especially when we face times of temptation and testing, we must make time for prayer. And our attitude in prayer should be the same as our Lord: “not my will but thine be done.” Jesus faithfully followed the will of God, and so should we.

We have two main events in this text: Jesus and the disciples pray, and Judas betrays Jesus.

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