Written by: D avid Soto Cardona,Pastor of Second Baptist Church in Guayama, Puerto Rico
Luke 22:36-46 (KJV)
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
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.
45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
By nature, our lives are complex, dynamic, and full of crossroads accompanied by difficult times. We all live moments when our hearts and reason are broken by different events that make up life. We have many questions in the face of human pain. There is a wealth of experiences that make and lead us to face our lives.
The biblical passage clearly presents the model of Jesus. In the garden of Gethsemane, in the Mount of Olives, we observe Jesus praying to his Father on his way to crucifixion. Let us see how the teacher faces and traverses his moments of pain and hardship. There, while searching and meeting with his Father, our Jesus revealed to his disciples, and now to us, that in the face of any complex and difficult landscape, we must look for the face and presence of our Father.
Jesus tells us that all our battles and life situations must be exposed to the Father. Physical and emotional aspects as well as all spiritual battles. The story of Jesus crying out to the Heavenly Father is very significant in the midst of what we are living now and always. The world has not understood the greatness and the mystery surrounding the discipline of prayer before our Heavenly Father, our Creator.
There in Gethsemane, our Redeemer and Savior, Jesus, revealed to us once more his humanity, his pain and agony, his feelings and solitude, and his brokenness and sorrow. It is beautiful and significant to know how near and empathetic is the God whom we serve.
The biblical narrative shows us Jesus, the God-man, who experienced fear and anxiety while praying to his Father. You and I, in our human reality, have daily feelings and emotions similar to those that our Lord suffered while on Earth. JESUS is the God incarnate who became like us and loved us.
As part of his humanity, he experienced sorrow, fear, pain, hurt, misery, lamentation, and the fragility, from which we all suffer. All of this was part of our Lord Jesus. He lived and felt firsthand bitter pain as he trudged to open a path to salvation and forgiveness, a path he took by foot. There Jesus opened a path to hope and life. He faced his Adversary, the Enemy of Souls, and it was there where he triumphed over death. His death conquered death and gave us life.
There are many instances where the biblical narrative shows us Jesus facing the world and its oppressive settings in a very particular way. His battles, his defense of the oppressed, his words of liberation and healing, his warnings and truths were all done while standing on his own two feet. Jesus, your Savior, my Savior, the Redeemer of humankind, knows very well your reality, your human fragility, and everything that implies.
This truth, the privilege of being victors in the face of adversity, is the result of the steps that Jesus took in his walk to the cross. How necessary it is to tell the world the importance of finding Jesus! How significant it is to find Jesus... He was God in human flesh... God became human and experienced the world like us. Jesus won all spiritual battles; he stayed in communion with the Father and faced his path while standing, trusting in the Father, and, thus, he gave us his life and life in abundance.
Just like Jesus, wherever you are, silently kneel and pray with simple and sincere words to the Father, and you will receive strength. The words pronounced by Jesus to the Father, each of those pleas prepared him to receive victory.
Your Gethsemane is the time through which you submit yourself to the Father in obedience and place all your trust in the fullness of His love. Jesus lived a life of prayer and obedience to his Father, to whom he submitted his will. Jesus won his battle kneeling and obeying the Father.
It is more than clear that he left as a prisoner from those who arrested him. From the moment that the priests and politicians apprehended him, he stood firm until he finally gave his life at the cross. Those men who unfairly and immorally assassinated him, "according to them," never noticed something truly significant for our world.
They were instruments in the fulfillment of the salvific plan of our Heavenly Father.
Having been arrested, slandered, mistreated, led as a lamb to slaughter, he fulfilled the Father's purpose standing and holding the banner of truth and life.
Our Savior submitted himself to the perfect will of the Father and crossed the valley of pain and death to conquer with life.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
John 11:25-26 (KJV)
"I am the resurrection, and the life." Our Savior was called to die for you. Thus, in the face of this difficult path, Jesus humbled himself in prayer before his Father and modeled to his disciples the importance of prayer in the face of challenges and the purposes of the Father.
Jesus was called to die. He knew full well the painful path that awaited him, but he also knew of the beautiful blessings and wonderful consequences that were in the hands of the Father, thanks to his sacrifice and submission at Calvary's cross. Today we have the privilege of being blessed by his love.
The way of the cross is a path of challenges, prayer, and commitment. Walking the path of the cross makes us perfect according to the purposes of the Father. The path to the cross reveals to us the wonderful power of the precious blood of Jesus.
It is gratifying to affirm what Jesus reveals to us through his example... Look at Jesus...
Through prayer, he conquers all agony, sorrow, pain, and anguish amid the human reality he felt.
Prayer allows you to face the biggest challenges that may appear in your life.
Prayer brings you closer to God, the Father, who strengthens you, holds you, and reveals His love to you.
Prayer unites you with the spirit of God and allows you to understand its transforming power.
Prayer allows you to understand that you belong to God.
You are of God. His glory is available for your life. His glory was manifested in Jesus Christ, your Risen Savior.
Prayer opens your spiritual eyes and allows you to discern the paths, the times, and its realities.
Prayer connects you to an inexhaustible fountain, His grace of love. Grace manifested in Jesus. There, your needs are transformed into answers and the manifestation of His goodness. So, you pray to the God who answers you, the God who is present, the God who loves you first.
You win the battle by going to the Gethsemane of your life, by meeting with the Father, at the feet of the Creator, before those who know you. God remains alert, Communal God, Familiar God, Triune God.
Your prayer must be presented before the God who is and will be... All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:3-4, KJV)
Jesus reveals to us his intention to fulfill the purpose because of which he was among us. He prayed for the will of the Father to be done despite what the future held for him. Still nailed to the cross and with his last breath, Jesus showed us the importance of obeying the Word of God and trusting in Him in all situations.
Jesus, through his prayer, shows you a transforming attitude and his relationship with the Father. This revealing moment of Jesus... He shows us the path of submission and obedience:
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Romans 5: 19 (KJV)
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.
Hebrews 5: 8-9 (KJV)
Reaffirm today your meeting with the Knight of the Cross...
Let us face life's challenges with our victorious banner of the cross. Let us raise the triumphant flag of the cross, which reveals to us a Risen Christ. Allow your life to be subject to the work of the Holy Spirit. Going to Gethsemane is to surrender your primary interests to fulfill the will of your Savior.
Stand facing the walk of life with a heart prostrate before the teacher.
Climbing up to Gethsemane… That is where you win the battle: against sorrow, against despair, against uncertain times, against the internal battles with your own self. In the Gethsemane of prayer, you immerse yourself in God's perfect will for your life. It is there where you clad yourself in the entire armor of God, so that you can survive the bad days and, thereafter, stand firm.
In the middle of your Gethsemane, PRAYER is what will help you, according to Ephesians 6: 14-17, to then stand firm, and gird yourself with the belt of truth, dress with the breastplate of justice, and strap your boots to preach the gospel of peace. Arm yourself with the shield of faith and power to douse the fiery darts of the Adversary. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Now and today the Word invites you to climb, to climb up to Gethsemane with Jesus, praying at every turn to the Spirit, persevering in prayer and pleading to the saints so that they may watch over you.
This message is a product of Pastor David Soto's participation in the program From the Crucifixion of Jesus to the Resurrection of Christ, sponsored by the office of Intercultural Ministries of American Baptist Home Mission Societies. You may access the recordings of Dr. Samuel Pagán's presentations in our MinistrElife virtual platform in the group for the Latin American community at https://ministrelife.org/communities/1129.