Intro: In 2012, I stood in the Garden of Gethsemane which is located near the foot of the Mount of Olives. I looked at the Olive Trees all gnarled—noticeably old and weathered. I wondered about the true age of these olive trees. Did you know the existing trees in the Garden might be 900 years old? Actually, research was done in 2012 to three of these trees; they were found to be among the oldest trees known to science. The carbon dating from these three trees reveal they could have been sprouts reviving from the roots of the trees that actually sheltered Jesus as he prayed [olive trees can grow back from roots after being cut down]. There’s a great message in the three olive trees! If God can revive the olive trees after trauma, God can revive us, too.
In our passage today, Luke does not tell us Jesus is in Gethsemane [Aramaic—meaning “oil press”], but Matthew and Mark tell us this Garden is the location for Christ’s agony— his intense struggle with evil (Mat 26:36; Mark 14:31). Christ agonized over the cup of suffering that lay ahead; he prayed for the Father’s will over his own and an angel of the Lord came and strengthened him. In contrast, the disciples fell asleep exhausted from grief even though Jesus warned them about the temptation they would face to deny God’s Word. What made the difference for Christ? Prayer. Prayer brought the Father’s provision—strength—to remain obedient. Whatever you are facing today, pray about it and let God bring you an angel of strength.
Luke 22:39-46 NLT Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39 Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. 40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
45 At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the wisdom we find in your Word, today. Help us to pray about everything and trust you will give us the strength to step into victory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.