7734 - Agony

Listen

(Original script will not match edited audio completely)

Our study in the book of Luke has carried us to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus and his apostles often went. This night is the last in the earthly life of Jesus.

Listen to Luke 22:39-46:

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."

He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

This is one of the most agonizing scenes we find in the life of Jesus. The heart of Jesus must have been breaking. We may conclude that this was not because of his thinking about the physical agony of the cross, but rather his contemplation that for the first time in eternity his untarnished being was to be weighed down with sin — the combined sin of humanity.

Perhaps he thought upon the truth of God that: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong (Hab. 1:13).” His breaking heart may have come from the knowledge that for the first time in eternity the blessed, loving relationship between Father God and the Son of God would be broken.

You see, Jesus knew the punishment for sin was separation from Father God. When all those sins were placed upon him then the Father would not look upon him. God could not bear to fellowship with him.

What ever his thoughts he withdrew from these disciples whom he loved so much and poured out his heart to the Father. He struggled and wrestled with his intense emotions.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” His following words reveal the perfection of his nature, as he said; “yet not my will but yours be done.” He was perfectly yielded to the Father. His obedience was unbending.

Loving Father then sent an angel to minister to Jesus, to strengthen his inner being.

As he continued in his anguish, he prayed more earnestly; such that his sweat ran down his face like drops of blood.

A second scene was being played out by the disciples. After being encouraged by Jesus to pray for themselves, that they would not fall into temptation, he found them all asleep.

When Jesus came back to where they were, he questioned them, “Why are you sleeping?” ... Get up and pray so that you will not succumb to temptation.

Jesus knew the great consternation and fear, which would grip the disciples once he was arrested. Although they had been told what to expect — that Jesus would be arrested, condemned unjustly, crucified and buried. Jesus had also told them he would rise again on the third day. They had heard these words from Jesus but did not comprehend how it would unfold.

We find no report of the activities of the disciples immediately after the crucifixion. It seems they had taken refuge behind locked doors. Their expectations were shattered. They expected Jesus to restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6), and now he was dead.

We must not assume Jesus as the Son of God was shielded from agony. In the flesh Jesus experienced full identification with people. We read in Hebrews 2:14-15, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” He was made like us, his brothers, that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. How wonderful is his loving grace.