And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:39-42 NASB)
Honestly, I’ll be looking at the Garden prayer and arrest in much less detail than it warrants…seriously. You’d be amazed at how much can be found simply in comparing the four Gospels to each other just with this event. It’s amazing. I believe that, together, they paint a very powerful picture of our Redeemer. Unfortunately, I blog three days, teach the fourth, and prepare through the weekend, and blog three days. It’s a pattern I’m strapped into until I either retire or am fired. So, less detail is all I have time for.
Jesus and His disciples were “camping” in the Garden of Gethsemane at the base of the Mount of Olives. They were probably not alone since the Passover brought people from all over the world to Jerusalem, and I’m pretty sure camping was common. The Mount of Olives would have been popular for historical and religious reasons as it provided the best view and proximity to the temple. Tonight, though, there would be no rest.
In Luke, Peter, James, and John (or the sons of Zebedee) were not set apart from the rest as they were in Matthew and Mark. Jesus simply tells them all to pray to avoid temptation. While Jesus doesn’t go into detail as to what sort of temptation or to do what exactly, it needed prayer apparently to be avoided. There’s no comment that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. There’s one prayer, not three. Luke is so focused on prayer throughout his Gospel, yet here there only a single prayer of Jesus. Luke seems focused on the effect and purpose of prayer, not the number of prayers; to avoid temptation, and relinquish the will.
There is this prayer that seems to be Jesus wrestling with what comes next. It is not the will of Jesus to go through the suffering, death, and resurrection? I have a very unpopular idea of what that actually looked like for Jesus, but I still find it makes the most sense to me. If I’m right, then Jesus had more suffering to face than we can imagine. In fact, the reason it’s so unpopular is that it’s impossible. My contention is that the impossible is sort of God’s “wheelhouse”. I believe Jesus was facing something that was creation-shattering huge. It will cause all of heaven and earth to gasp in horror; and hell to roar in victory.
Somehow, please let the cup of suffering pass from Me! Yet, I relent to Your will. The first scene in the Passion of the Christ is this prayer. It’s dark, and it’s being overseen by Satan. The relinquishment is of Jesus’ will to avoid what comes. I don’t think it’s the beatings He wants to avoid. The relinquishment is of Jesus’ will to find another way that doesn’t include such a high price for the sin of all creation. But as the stars of heaven declared His arrival, so the clockwork skies would herald His death; set in motion before the first sin was even an option. There was no other way, not from the beginning was there another option. And Jesus already knows this even as He prays.
That’s my view through this knothole. What does God look like through yours?