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In The Garden


Matthew 26:36-46

This is a picture of the garden of Gethsemane as it looks today.

When Jesus went into the garden He only took 3 of His disciples with Him.

Anita tells me that it is a beautiful garden…and it may be that its beauty is enhanced by the fact that it is also a battlefield.

Today, in our study, Matthew is going to take us into this garden.

He is going to test your heart because you are going to see the Son of God bowed low.

Let’s begin in verse 36.

In verse 36 Jesus and His disciples come to Gethsemane.

It says that, “He began to be grieved and distressed.”

It is so easy for us to just say these words and go on and miss the whole impact of how Jesus is feeling.

Do you see the word “grieved” in vs. 37?

 And the word “distressed” literally means to “be heavy.”  Burdened down”

And the phrase in vs. 38, “deeply grieved in His soul to the point of death” literally means He was “surrounded by sorrow.”

And some of you have felt that and seen that.

I have had times when I have had to tell someone that their mate…or their child has died.

That is much of what Jesus is feeling here because look at verse 39.

Why? Why is Jesus so grief stricken? Why is He feeling so crushed…so heavily burdened?

Well, look at verse 39. He says, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” All things are possible for Thee, remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”

Do you see the word “cup?”

And what you need to understand here is, Jesus is not burdened down with grief and pleading with God just because He is about to die.

He is burdened with grief and full of sorrow because He is soon to feel the wrath of a sin

hating God!

that we might become the righteousness of God.”

Did you know that this is where   Jesus comes under a lot of criticism from Antichristian critics?

What they fail to understand is, Jesus is facing more than just death.

And that isn’t all.

And understand this… because this is where the test of your heart comes in.

That is why He is grieving!

This is His dread!

And so He falls down and prays.

He raised His voice, He clinched His fists and He cried out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.”

But then He says, “Yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

Many believe that the cross was the critical moment in Jesus’ life in terms of His struggle to obey God’s will.

Here is where the tough decision was made.

When God made man and called him Adam, He put him in a garden, and He didn’t ask much.

But here, outside of Jerusalem, the second Adam is in a second garden, and, oh my, what God asks of Him.

Here is where the battle took place…and thanks be to Christ that because He submitted
to the will of the Father… We won!

Jesus prays, “Yet, not as I will, but as Thou wilt,” and He gets up and He goes and finds his disciples sleeping.

Understand what He is saying here.

Prayer is so important because it constantly reminds you of God…and His will…and His purpose for you…and His power and His strength…

Prayer is so important for keeping the spirit strong.

Jesus tells His disciples to “Keep watching and praying”, and then He goes back and again He asks God to remove the cup from Him…and He agonizes again with the fact that He will soon face the wrath of God and be alienated from Him.

And then for a third time He asks God to remove the cup…and again He tells God, “Yet not my will but thine.”

But now don’t miss what happens in verse 45.

But then He says, “Behold, the hour is at hand; and, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand.”

Don’t miss the calmness and the courage of those words.

The cup is not removed from Jesus…instead He accepts the will of the Father.

You see, the real battle was won before the swords and clubs even showed up.

 And that fact puts you to the test. Turn to Hebrews 12:28.

Do you know what this verse says?

The word “gratitude” speaks of that which the heart feels because of what God has done.

So what you find is, your response to what Jesus did in that garden when He willingly agreed to die on the cross for your sins…your response to His actions that night…is a pretty good indication of the kind of heart you have?

One more quick point and the lesson is yours.

Today we read of the second of two significant gardens mentioned in the Bible.

And your relationship with God is summed up in the two gardens.

And in the second garden there is a second Adam, your spiritual brother.

And I suggest to you that your relationship with God and your future with God depends on which garden and which Adam you follow.

Jesus died to self and surrendered to the will of God….and because He did salvation is available to all.

But the only way you can be a partaker of that salvation is to do the same…you too must die to yourself…and surrender to the will of God. Will you do that today?