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Luke 22:39-51 – Gethsemane

Jesus left the upper room for the Mount of Olives singing Psalms such as 116 and 118 – worth reading to know what Jesus sung the night before he died.

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus knelt and prayed asking, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” What is the cup? The cup is a symbol of the judgment and wrath of God against sinners. In the Old Testament judgment was compared to a cup of strong drink that would cause a person to stumble and fall, a cup that would cause them to see strange things and experience anguish of mind – an image of what it is to be under the judgment of God.

Adam in the garden was commanded to not eat, the Second Adam in a garden of thorns is commanded to drunk – unlike the first he says, “Not my will but yours be done.” Why is Jesus in such anguish as he contemplates his death while many martyrs have gone so calmly to the death? No man in the history of the world has faced what Jesus did. Knowing the holiness of God and the divine utter hatred of sin, Jesus alone knew what it was to drink the dregs of the cup of God’s wrath. In agony his soul/spirit recoiled in horror. Luke says that his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground – if one’s blood falls to the ground the one dies. Comparatively, the agony of Christ is such that he could die there in Gethsemane – we should be in awe of what Jesus does in the garden.

The Father sends an angel to his son that the son might not perish in Gethsemane. Previously in Luke’s gospel when Jesus prayed the Father opened the heavens and spoke. As Jesus’ estrangement begins, it is not the Father’s voice but merely a household servant (an angel) that is sent to him. Nevertheless, the love the Father has for the Son is evident. The angel strengthens him. How? I think the angel reflecting the glory of God’s presence serves/worships Jesus. In this way Jesus has before him the glory and exaltation that lies beyond the cross. This vision strengthens Jesus for the path of obedience – exaltation via the cross.

Judas arrives and betrays Jesus with a kiss fulfilling Psalm 41: Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who late my bread, has lifted his heel against me. One of the disciples struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Jesus performs his last healing – he reaches out and touches the man’s ear restoring his hearing. The disciples have been so to hear of the sufferings of the Christ and his being raised on the third day – but soon Jesus will restore their hearing. The last healing Jesus performs is no accident but once again to demonstrate what he will do for blind deaf sinners.