Matthew 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
Here now has the actual hour come for the Eternal Son to enter into his role as the precious Lamb of God. He, as the last Adam, leaves off speaking to the Father (see John 17), and goes into this garden. Whereas the first Adam left off speaking to God and went out of his garden. For as one man (the first Adam), brought sin into the world, even so, this one man (the Lord Jesus Christ), shall take away the sin of the world, and bring in the reign of righteousness! Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Blessed be the Lord Christ! For he restored that which he took not away! (Psalm 69:4). For he was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. (Hebrews 7:26). Therefore he had to come in the “likeness of sinful flesh,” and to be “made sin for us, in order to accomplish our redemption.” (Romans 8:3). For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
And all the language helps seem to agree that the word, Gethsemane means an “oil press.” For it was here that the horrible sorrows of his soul began to press him, so that his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44). It was not yet the thorns pressing the holy brow that let the blood flow. But it was not the fear of dying that stressed the Holy One so! It was the agony of death, not the dying, that pressed this blood from the pores of the Incarnate Body! He had already expressed his relation to this soul sorrow! John 12:27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. He sought not for deliverance from, but endurance in, this, his most horrific agony of separation from his Father! For death, in any degree is but separation!
And Christ’s entering into his Gethsemane also enters his disciples in with him! Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. For we must all ‘go home by the way of the cross!’ No flesh shall ‘glory in His presence.’ Therefore even the Incarnate flesh must only return back to the Father through the cross!
But we notice in verses 36 and 37 that some are Sitters, while others are Sufferers! That we must enter into our own personal crosses is certain. But the timing of this is according to God’s individual will for each of his children! Therefore we take careful notice that the Sitters are not named! They are not pointed out less they be shamed, but are just under the broad term of “the disciples.” Just because one is not presently under the mortifications of trials and afflictions does not mean that he is not a true believer. But he must never promise himself, as did the rich man who built bigger barns, that he could thereafter have soul ease! (Luke 12:19).
And even of the Sufferers who did go yonder, only one is truly, personally named. For the others are but referred to as the two sons of Zebedee. We know these to be James and John, but we must abide in the Spirit’s intent here and see that only Peter is called by name! John 10:3 …and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And seeing this will shape our understanding of this event so much as to see it unfold in a different light than we have seen before.
First we must understand the unique seriousness of this specific time. Up until this point in time the Lord had liberty to go as he saw fit. But now the hour would be given unto the powers of spiritual darkness! Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. For it would require wicked hands to accomplish the crucifixion upon which the redemption depended! This was according to God’s determinate council! Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: So here was a God-appointed affliction, of which Peter did not seem to realize, much less prepare himself to enter into.
Now concerning Peter’s name being the only one mentioned, let us see verse 40. The Lord comes to where the three are waiting. But he only addresses Peter by name! Therefore what he says in verse 41 is primarily addressed to Peter. “Peter, your watching with me would prepare you not to enter into your temptation!” In his sovereign knowledge the Lord knew that Peter would deny him three times before God’s rooster preacher marked the event! But in his human responsibility he urges Peter to guard himself, according to Christ’s example, for Satan himself had desired to have him.
Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
And of all the disciples, which is the one recorded to have denied him? – None but Peter! Matthew 26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
Is there any light on why these three were taken ‘yonder’ while the others were left behind? Well, the three were Peter, James and John. And these three are more often set forth in the scriptures than all the others combined. Luke 12:48 …For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Just consider the Lord’s instruction concerning Saul of Tarsus to the disciple Ananias. Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. One cannot have the scriptures opened to them without personal experiences with the cross. But one surely cannot preach the word without God-ordained suffering! How can an un-crucified man preach with any understanding or power, a crucified Savior?
Listen to the understanding of the Apostle Paul, long after Ananias has anointed him, and long after many severe afflictions had been exacted upon him. He writes in Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Was he already a born again believer? Of course. Was he already an anointed apostle? Most certainly. But how does he understand from that anointing that he must come to a deeper and more spiritual acquaintance with the person of his Lord? It would only be through the fellowship of his sufferings.
And what of the Apostle Peter? Did he come to these same conclusions? Read his words yourself – 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. He states the same thing as did the Apostle Paul. If you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, then the spirit of glory and of God will rest upon you.
But what of Christ Himself? How did the cross benefit him personally? (No one seems to have their minds turned towards the Savior’s benefit at the cross. Most only want to consider, “How does it benefit me?”)
But there is a passage from the Hebrew writer that opens this up to us. Here is that passage: Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
In his sorrow of soul he cried out to the Father, and he was heard. Not that the cross would be removed from his duty, but that he would be aided to fulfill that duty. So he was given supernatural help. Luke 22:43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
Then we read of the benefit of the cross concerning the Lord Christ in the very next verse. For verse eight clearly informs us that he did not learn from his Sonship just how far obedience was to extend. For as the Son, the Father was constantly with him, even speaking out from heaven concerning him. Is not this what good father’s do? Yet he would have to experience the personal agony and aloneness in being separated from the Father to accomplish redemption.
But the verse instructs us that, not as a Son, but only as a Sufferer did he personally learn by experience just what obedience was all about! And, as has already been stated in this article, that is an absolute rule for every believer, without fail! The next verse (v.9), then informs us that this is that which made him “perfect.” But you ask, “Was he not already perfect, being Incarnate God?” Sure! But he was only the perfect Son. Read verse nine again. In what way does it state that he was made perfect? He became a perfect author of eternal salvation! This he had not been before. And he could only become so by a personal faith in the Father to raise him up again! Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. He became the author of faith by having faith himself! Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
And he had not yet become the perfect captain of our salvation. This is what transpired for him at the cross! Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Peter told us that the spirit of glory and of God would rest upon us if we faithfully abide the ordained fiery trials! Paul states that he would only come to truly know the Savior in the fellowship of his sufferings. And the Lord Jesus was only made a perfect author of eternal salvation, and a perfect captain of salvation through sufferings.
I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There’s no other way but this;
I shall ne’er get sight of the gates of light,
If the way of the cross I miss.
I must needs go on in the blood-sprinkled way,
The path that the Savior trod,
If I ever climb to the heights sublime,
Where the soul is at home with God.
Jessie Brown Pounds 1861-1921
Dear Reader, it is not the starting gate that determines the final outcome of the soul. It is the finish line! Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Pastor Gene Breed
April 12, 2015