Perhaps you’ve seen the picture of Jesus kneeling by a rock in the garden; hands folded, eyes turned upward, the perfect picture of serenity. The gospel writers paint a different picture; it doesn’t include serenity. Mark records that he “fell to the ground” in distress. Luke describes a dangerous condition known as hematidrosis in which, under extreme anguish or physical pain, the capillaries beneath the skin dilate and burst, mixing blood with perspiration. Luke also records that an angel came to strengthen him. Matthew tells us that Jesus pleaded three times that the “cup pass from me” – an Old Testament reference to drinking the “wrath of God.” While Jesus didn’t fear the crucifixion or death, he did fear—and for good reason—the judgment of his Father’s righteous anger against our sin that he was about to embrace.
There is nothing peaceful about this scene. The only one praying was sweating blood, physically exhausted, and emotionally drained, but still clinging to prayer in spite of heaven’s silent answer. In his greatest hour of need, Jesus found prayer to be a sustaining resource, enabling him to do the will of his Father. Having prayed, he knew that his Father knew and that was enough.
Sadly, if you could have joined the prayer meeting in the garden that night, you would have heard more snoring than praying. While the disciples had been taught how to pray, they had not faithfully practiced the truths they had learned. Only Jesus had grown and progressed in his prayer life to the point where he could pray with clear focus in spite of his deep distress.
Taken from Just Like Jesus:biblical stratgies for growing well by Phil Moser, pages 19-20. Available through www.biblicalstrategies.com