Jesus Prays in Gethsemane: The Three Groups

jesus prays in gethsemane

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)

On two occasions a garden became a battleground for the souls of humankind. The first time was in the Garden of Eden. There Adam and Eve yielded to sin, and all of the misery, disease, and heartache of the world began. Even in the face of sin and rebellion, God gave a promise (Genesis 3:15). The second time is found in the garden of Gethsemane. When Jesus prays in Gethsemane he demonstrates what submission to the Father looks like through earnest, intense, and willful submission to God.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Matthew 26:36-46

The question that all of us must answer is, “Where would I be located in the Garden of Gethsemane?” We are going to take a look at the groups and determine the one to which we want to be related.

Look at the Difference in Their Positions

All of us classify ourselves.

  1. We are not classified according to the degree of education or financial ability.
  2. We are simply classified according to our relationship with Jesus Christ.
  3. Please note that Judas classified himself with Jesus’ enemies.

The first group was located near the edge of the garden.


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This group represents a large percentage of today’s average church members. It has been said that at least 25 percent of members could disappear, and the church would not realize they had left. This group is a picture of the people who want to be in the church and be related to the world at the same time.

It is time for the church to clearly declare itself in its relationship with God. During the 37-year war between Spain and the Netherlands Prince William of Orange was tempted to betray. He said, “Not for life, nor wife, nor children, nor lands would I mix one drop of the poison of treason in my cup.

When he died, children stopped playing and cried. God help us to be so committed to Christ.

Look at the Difference in Size

The majority of the crowd is farther away from Jesus and closer to the world. If we could talk to the eight, their response could be interesting. They could not tell us how to find Jesus.

  1. These are some of the same individuals left behind at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration who caused a father to doubt (Matthew 17:14-16).
  2. The two questions face each of us: Can we tell people how to find Jesus? Do we encourage or discourage their faith?

Look at the Difference in Revelation

The deepest things of God are reserved for those who are nearest to His heart. Compare verses 6, 38, and 39. If you want God to reveal the deepest mysteries of himself to you, you will have to move into the heart of the garden.

Look at the Difference in Their Assignment

To the first group, He simply said, “Sit here” (verse 36). Even Judas passed them by when he came looking for the Master. To the second group, He shared His burden.

To the Father, He surrendered everything (v. 39).

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane Conclusion

Each of us faces the question about where we are located in our relationship with Jesus. The world needs to see people who are so clearly identified with Jesus they can find Him through them. Remember, you locate yourself. 

Where are you today?


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