by Bruce Hanson

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.” Matthew 26:36-45

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”  Luke 22:39-46

Isaiah 55 tells us the following truths about God and about ourselves:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Issaiah 55:8-9

I start there because it helps me to grasp the real significance of the doubt and anxiety Jesus experienced in the Garden. He was God. He was a man.
But that humanity ought to be tremendously encouraging to us. It goes hand in hand with another verse in Hebrews.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15

That sounds pretty clinical, but it tells me that Jesus truly understands what we are going through. He was God, but He was also human. Ultimately, we all struggle with the fear of the unknown. We like tangible answers, stuff we can touch and feel. When we can’t, uncertainty sets in. And I am living proof of the bad places we can go if we allow fear and doubt to rule the roost. With macular, horrible hips, seriously compromised hearing, and non-existent teeth, Satan pushes my buttons regularly. On the hour. What can I possibly do? I don’t know, but God does!!

Jesus was hurting there in the Garden. So badly, that God sent an angel to comfort Him. The condition described above is a very real one. “Bloody Sweating” is called Hematohidrosis.  It may occur in individuals suffering from extreme levels of stress. Around the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form, which constrict under the pressure of great stress. Again, Jesus was hurting —  Big Time!

The linchpin of Christianity is believing in what we cannot see, what we would term FAITH. And that faith requires believing, despite not seeing.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

In His humanity, Jesus had doubts and enough anxiety for all of us put together. Yet, in the end, He modeled perfectly the way in which we should respond to life’s anxieties, doubts, and stresses.

Yet not my will but thy will be done.” Luke 22:42

And it was.

Ending with victory over death, and victory over doubt!!

Thank You Jesus!!

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