The great crisis was at hand, and it was casting its dark shadow before on the spirit of our Lord. In this hour of the power of darkness he felt that he must throw himself upon his Father's bosom.
Mat 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.
Mat 26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Mat 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Mat 26:39 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.
Mat 26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
Mat 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Mat 26:42 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.
Mat 26:43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
Mat 26:44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
Mat 26:45 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.
Mat 26:46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
In Luke ch. 22: 43,44 he speaks of an angel appearing to help him and strengthen him, and that his sweat became as great drops of blood which portray's the great suffering and agony of his struggle.
Luk 22:43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
Luk 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
When the soul is overwhelmed, it seeks to be alone, and yet not too far from human sympathy and help. The three most trusted might enter the enclosure, but even they could not share the depth of the Master’s anguish, which was so great as to threaten His very life. He cried to Him who could save Him from dying before His trial and sentence, and was saved from what He feared. Our Lord did not shrink from physical suffering, but from the horror of becoming sin-bearer for the race, and putting away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. His disciples failed Him, but as He submitted to the Father’s will His spirit rose triumphant. Sleep on now-the past is irrevocable. The disciples fled as fast as their feet would carry them. If only they had prayed, they would have been steadfast and unmovable. There are good reasons for supposing that the young man mentioned here was Mark himself.
Our Lord knew to what He was going. All lay naked and open before His eyes. He laid down His life of Himself; but in this supreme act of love He suffered beyond words. It was not that He feared physical pain, but it was the horror of standing before the universe identified with the sin and sorrow of the world, as though these were His own.
In these instructions to His Apostles, as to wallet, purse and sword, we must understand that He meant them to realize that the storm was about to burst upon them with furious intensity.
Some think that our Lord prayed most of all that His body should not give way under His awful anguish. He feared lest He should die before He could reach the Cross. See Heb 5:7. His disciples failed him then, as we do as well. We need to heed the Lord's warnings to "keep watch", and be in a vigil of prayer as well.
In human life there is a close connection between our hymns and our olive-presses. We pass from the supper to the garden, from the emblems to the reality. But not all can enter into the fellowship of our Lord’s unknown sufferings. Paul longed to do this that he might realize also the power of His resurrection, Php 3:10. Our Lord longs for the sympathy which will keep awake for love of Him, though it may not understand all that is in His heart.
Notice that though the cup seemed to be mixed and presented by human hands, our Lord refused to see in it these alone, but went behind them to the permissive will of God the Father. It is this thought that extracts bitterness from the bitterest cup. In the same sentence Jesus bade the disciples sleep on and arise. It was as though He knew and felt that though the past had gone beyond recall, yet further opportunities and testings were awaiting them and Him. These they would encounter and share in company. He is always saying to us, however unworthy-Let us be going. (F.B. Meyer Comm)
WAS CHRIST'S PRAYER ANSWERED?--The Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb 5:7) says it was. An angel came and strengthened him (Luk 22:43). There are two ways of answering a prayer for the removal of a burden. In one, the burden is taken away, and we remain the same; in the other, we are made so strong that the burden is no longer a burden to us; faith has overcome it, and given the power to endure.