Questions for Littles: To what place did they come in v32? What did Jesus tell the disciples to do? What was Jesus going to do? Whom did Jesus take with Him in v33? What did He begin to do? How sorrowful did Jesus tell them that He was (v34)? What does He tell them to do? Where did Jesus go in v35? What did He do there? What did He pray? What did Jesus first ask His Father to do in v36? Nevertheless, what does Jesus ask the Father to do? What does Jesus come and find the disciples doing in v37? Whom does Jesus single out to ask a question? What question does He ask? What command does Jesus give them in v38a? What warning does He give them in v38b? What did Jesus do in v39? What words did He speak? What did He find them doing again in v40? What did He do and say a third time in v41? What does Jesus tell them has come? What did He say was happening to the Son of Man? What does Jesus tell them to do in v42? Why?In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus was just as exhausted as His disciples. He was troubled, deeply distressed, exceedingly sorrowful.
How did the disciples respond? By sleeping. How did Jesus respond? By praying.
When push came to shove, there was something that Jesus wanted most of all: His Father’s ear.
Jesus knew that He had to go to the cross. He had set His face toward Jerusalem. He had told His disciples, over and over again, that He had to go and be crucified. So, is this prayer really an attempt to get out of the cross? No! For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.
But it was something that required endurance because of the greatness of the pain. So Jesus seeks refuge in His Father’s ear. He throws Himself down before His Father. He calls Him His Abba. He uses words of pleading: “if it is possible! … All things are possible for You!.” But He also uses words of trust: “not what I will, but what You will.”
Of course, God will always do His perfect will. But one of the reasons that He brings us to prayer is to remind us not only that His will is perfect, but that He is our Abba who cares very much for our pain in the midst of enduring that which is good and perfect but hard.
Of course, much more important than His being our great example in this situation was what Jesus was doing with His suffering, precisely so that we would never do it, and because we could not ever do it. The Son of Man was not a sinner. But He would suffer and die for our sins. Trusting in a Father who would forsake Him for our benefit. What a Savior, and what a salvation!
What times of prayer do you have set aside for falling upon Father’s ear?Suggested songs: ARP143B “O Lord, My Spirit Fails” or HB398 “Sweet Hour of Prayer”