Hello, I’m Sharon Dobson and I serve alongside other women in Bethel’s Women’s Ministry.
When I was given these verses Matt 26:36-44 and asked to do a podcast… I was intimidated So I prayed about it. And two things popped into my head.
First, I was totally available. I had just listened to Pastor Greene’s message on Service and Availability. God’s timing. The other was my New Years Resolution, which was to study scripture to grow closer to God and not just collect knowledge.
So here we go. Let’s look at some of these verses and some ideas that helped me see God better.
Jesus and his disciples had just finished the Last Supper in the Upper room. Jesus knew what was in store for him. A greater fate than you or I or his disciples, could comprehend. Not only the physical sufferings that were to come, but he was about to take on the “weight of the world” (the sins of all mankind) and in doing so be separated from his Father.
What did Jesus choose to do? He gathered his closest friends, his disciples, to pray to his Father. They went to a place called Gethsemane. Did you know Gethsemane means olive press? Don’t miss the irony of the unrelenting pressure of the olive press and the pressure Jesus was feeling at this time.
Verse 36 Jesus tells some of his disciples to “sit here, while I go pray.” Then we’re told he went on a little further with Peter, James and John and shared with them his distress. Verse 38 Jesus says “My soul is very sorrowful, even to the point of death;” he asks them to remain there and keep watch with him. Verse 39 says Jesus went a little farther, 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.”
After about an hour Jesus comes back to find his friends are asleep. Peter, the same disciple that earlier that night had stated he was willing to die with Jesus, couldn’t stay awake. Verse 41 stands out to me. Jesus says “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” This is the example Jesus is teaching in his most difficult time of need and his disciples missed it three times, but they obviously understood later because they record it for all of us in scripture. “The flesh is weak” is not an excuse, it’s our reality in this fallen world. Temptation is real, it’s everywhere and we can not stay alert on our own. We must fix our eyes on Jesus and pray.
David asks in Psalm 51:10 “renew a right spirit within me”. Help is available to us. We just have to ask.
Jesus was honest with what he was feeling and asking of God, but he knew his Father’s plan was the best. What do you do when you have prayed and prayed and prayed for a difficult situation, and confided in trusted friends? What’s your next step?
If we look at these verses, we see Jesus faithfully puts one foot in front of the other. He doesn’t hide or run away. I see complete trust in our Father God and his perfect plan.
When I humble myself and pray, God in his loving Grace reminds me that he’s got whatever is troubling me and helps me see the next step to take. Even if the answer is not what my will wants.