Morning Bible Study
Vows for Randy and Christina
We are now on the homestretch of Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus is now in Jerusalem, on His way to be crucified.
Luke has reminded us of what Jesus’ main purpose was in life:
(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son
of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
We saw Jesus arrive in Jerusalem on the previous Sunday, Palm Sunday, to
the shouts of an adoring crowd, crying “Hosanna”.
After cleansing the Temple, Jesus taught every day in the Temple.
We are now on Thursday night, the night of the Last Supper.
Jesus has told His disciples that one of them would betray Him.
Jesus has warned Peter that he will deny Him.
:39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and
His disciples also followed Him.
:39 to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed
For the past week, Jesus has gone early to the Temple each morning and
In the evening, Jesus and His disciples had been making their way back
across the Brook Kidron to the Mount of Olives where they camped for the
Because Jesus had established a place where He was each night, Judas knew
where to lead the soldiers to arrest Jesus.
:40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not
enter into temptation.”
:40 When He came to the place
We call the “place” the Gethsemane
Garden of Gethsemane
Mark is the one that says the place was named “Gethsemane” (Mark 14:32)
“Gethsemane” means “olive press”.
Olives were grown on the Mount, and then pressed to make olive oil, the
fuel of the ancient world.
John tells us that it was a “garden” (John 18:1). We might call it an
This takes us from one suggested spot where the Upper Room Last Supper was,
down to the Garden of Gethsemane at the base of the Mount of Olives.
Today, there are two gardens you can visit, a public one, and a “private” garden
The trees in the public garden are quite old.
One of the things that always hits me is just how close you are to the
Temple Mount. The time of the Passover
would have a full moon, and as Jesus was praying in the garden, you can see the
Temple Mount just “across the street”.
:40 Pray that you may not enter into temptation
Or literally, “Pray not to enter into temptation”
Praying against temptation
Jesus is telling the guys that a difficult time of trial and temptation is
coming, and they need to ask God in prayer to help them with the coming
But instead of praying against temptation, we often find ourselves singing
That’s the thing with temptation. It
always seems so great and sexy until after you’ve grabbed the cheese, and sin
results in a kind of “death”.
In “The Lord’s Prayer”, Jesus taught us to pray,
(Matthew 6:13 NKJV)
do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
What are the temptations that cause you to stumble?
We ought to be asking God for help with temptation.
What I do is to phrase my prayer in a positive way.
Instead of praying, “God help me not to lust today”, I
pray, “God help me to walk in purity today”.
Instead of praying against that box of cookies on the
shelf, I pray, “God help me grow in self-control today”.
Instead of praying, “God help me not to be angry today”, I
pray, “God help me cultivate patience in my life”.
Instead of praying, “God help me with pride”, I ask God,
“Help me to cultivate humility”.
I think these kinds of things ought to be what you ask God for every day,
even if you don’t think you’re struggling on this specific day.
I find that as I pray for those things, I will also come across Bible
verses in my daily reading, or listen to a message on the radio, or read
something in a book that is helpful on these subjects.
:41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down
:42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me;
nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
:42 take this cup away
Jesus is referring to His own coming arrest, trial, and death as a “cup”.
He’s asking God if it’s possible for Him to not have to drink from that
I think Jesus is doing what He’s asked His disciples to do.
He’s praying about the very thing He’s being tempted in, the thing He’s
:43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became
like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
:44 sweat became like great drops of blood
It could be that Luke is simply saying that Jesus was sweating profusely, like
blood pouring from a wound, or …
It could be that he’s talking about literally sweating blood.
There is a rare physical phenomenon called hematidrosis, where tiny blood vessels rupture in the sweat glands
under times of great emotional stress.
The result is a mixture of blood and sweat.
Dr. Luke is the only Gospel writer to mention the blood sweat.
:44 being in agony, He prayed more earnestly
agony – agonia – a
struggle for victory; wrestling; of severe mental struggles, anguish
more earnestly – ektenesteron (“stretched
out”) – more intently, more earnestly
The Greek word is based on a word meaning to “stretch out”, like stretching
out your hand.
It’s in the “comparative” form meaning it’s not just “stretched out”, but
“more stretched out”.
It’s not just picking the low hanging fruit on your lemon tree, but having
to get up on your tip-toes balanced on a box to get those lemons high on the
The work of prayer
Prayer is not easy. It’s hard work.
There is an “agony” in prayer.
When Paul wrote to the Colossians, he sent along greetings from a man named
Epaphras, a prayer warrior.
NKJV) Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets
you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand
perfect and complete in all the will of God.
The Greek word Paul uses for “laboring fervently” is agonizomai, the verb form of agonia.
Prayer is hard work.
James said that Elijah was a good example of a powerful prayer warrior
God used Elijah to pray a drought on Israel to nudge the nation towards
repentance and coming back to God.
The people would repent, but Elijah found it harder to get the rain turned
on than he did when he called fire from heaven.
(1 Kings 18:42b–44a
NKJV) 42 … And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the
ground, and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now,
look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And
seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There
is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!”…
Elijah had to “stretch out” in prayer.
He kept at it. He pushed through.
:45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found
them sleeping from sorrow.
:45 He found them sleeping from sorrow
Tired and depressed
The prophet Elijah was certainly used by God in an extraordinary way. To bring Israel back to God, Elijah had held
a contest with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and called fire down from
heaven to show the nation of Israel that Yahweh was the only true God.
Then Elijah had the prophets of Baal put to death.
When Queen Jezebel found out about this, she threatened to kill Elijah, and
Elijah the mighty prophet ran for his life.
He ran to the other end of Israel, and then some.
James wrote that Elijah struggled with the same kinds of things that we do.
(1 Kings 19:4 NKJV)
he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down
under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough!
Now, Lord, take my life, for I am
no better than my fathers!”
An angel gave Elijah some food, and he slept. A lot.
Sometimes we get tired because we’re depressed.
Sometimes we are depressed because we’re tired.
Elijah finally made it to a cave.
(1 Kings 19:9 NKJV)
there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the
word of the Lord came to
him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
While Elijah thought he had reasons to be afraid and
depressed, God reminded Elijah that he still had work to do.
He had prophets and kings to anoint.
God also reminded Elijah that he was not alone in
life. There were many others serving God
just like Elijah.
It seems that the disciples are at least somewhat aware that there are
rough times ahead.
Just as Elijah was depressed because of Jezebel, it seems that the
disciples were overcome with sorrow for the things that were ahead of them.
Elijah had to get away and spend time with God to get his bearings and get
back on track.
Jesus is going to tell His disciples that one of the things they need to do
He told them earlier to pray, and apparently that didn’t last too long.
One thing that can be helpful if you’re depressed is to get your eyes off
yourself and start thinking of others.
Years ago, Dr. Karl Menninger of the Menninger Psychiatric
Clinic was asked, “If someone felt a nervous breakdown coming on, what would
you suggest that he do?”
“If you feel a nervous breakdown coming on, I would urge
you to find somebody else with a problem—a serious one—and get involved with
that individual, helping him solve his problem.”
Helping another person solve his problem, affects your
problem. You’re no longer thinking
internally. You’re no longer letting
things gnaw at your stomach. You’re no
longer getting disturbed about yourself because you’re not thinking about
yourself. You’re thinking about others.”
It’s not that you ignore your problems, but sometimes you
need to get your mind off your problems for a bit.
One way to do this is to pray for others.
Think about joining the prayer covering ministry on Sunday
mornings. Learn to pray through the
church prayer list. You’ll not only find
that God will be answering your prayers, but you’ll find yourself dwelling on
your own problems a little less.
:46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter
:46 pray, lest you enter into temptation
The wording here is close to what Jesus said in verse 40, but just a little
The NKJV adds the word “lest”. In
the Greek it’s a word (hina) that
means “in order that”, or, “so that”.
All Prayer Helps
It’s not just praying about our temptations that helps us with temptation,
but praying in general helps us with temptation.
If turns our focus from the things of this world to the things of God.
After the resurrection, the disciples had learned the importance of the
discipline of prayer.
The church was growing and things were getting busier and busier. The apostles realized that they couldn’t keep
up with everything, and needed to prioritize their time with the things that
6:4 NKJV) but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the
ministry of the word.”
Without God’s Word and the work of prayer, the church gets
During the first couple of centuries of church history, the church was
greatly persecuted. Those centuries were
also characterized by a church that prayed.
Tertullian wrote in the 3rd century about prayer being the daily
sacrifice of the Christian. He saw it as
spiritual work the church did.
“Prayer,” says he, “blots out sins, repels temptations,
quenches persecutions, comforts the desponding, blesses the high-minded, guides
the wanderers, calms the billows, feeds the poor, directs the rich, raises the
fallen, holds up the falling, preserves them that stand.”
Are those good reasons to pray?
Praying is like a muscle.
It takes time to develop.
For years I’ve walked several miles a day for my health’s sake.
Over the last six months I’ve not been as consistent for
The last three weeks I’ve gotten back on the trail and
found that I don’t have the stamina or the pace I used to have.
But as I walk every day, I am able to walk a little
farther and a little faster each day.
Prayer is the same way.
It’s more important that you learn to pray regularly and
build up your “prayer muscles” a little at a time, than it is that you start
off with something you’re unaccustomed to do, and then get discouraged because
you can’t keep up with it.
:42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me;
nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
:42 Your will … My will
Jesus uses two different words that are translated “will”.
When referring to God the Father’s “will”, Jesus uses …
Your will – boulomai – to
will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded; to think
It is what God has carefully thought through and determined should be done.
When Jesus talks about His own “will”, He uses a softer word.
My will – thelema – what
one wishes; choice, inclination, desire, pleasure
Jesus is talking about His own human “will”.
This prayer of Jesus reflects the struggle between the Father’s will and
His own will.
It had been determined before the world was even formed that Jesus would
one day give His life to pay for the sins of the world.
Yet now, in His own human weakness, Jesus is struggling with that path.
He knows it will involve betrayal, horrible pain,
humiliation, separation from God, and death.
Yet He will ultimately yield Himself to the Father’s will because as we
know, Father knows best.
He will give up His life for us and pay for our sins, not just because it’s
right, but because of His great love for us.
In dying for us, He will make it possible for humans to enter heaven
because their sins will be paid for.
He will make it possible for you, if you will believe, to have eternal
3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Much of our life is a battle over “wills”.
We’re like the cat, thinking we know what’s best.
Are you fighting with God over what goes into the suitcase
of your life?
Father knows best.
For some of you, it may be that you’ve never allowed God to have a say in
God’s will is that you learn to recognize that you are a sinner.
God’s will is that you learn to turn from your sin.
God’s will is that you follow Him.
Who is going to win this battle? You
If you win, you end up in hell.
If God wins, you end up in heaven.
Is it really that difficult of a choice?
Jesus has already done the hard part, dying for us.
We need to simply follow Him.