1. What sayings have you heard people use about facing very difficult situations? (Examples: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”; “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”; “Tough times never last, tough people do”.)
These quotes emphasize personal resolve.
2. What can a person draw from when facing difficult situations that feed his or her resolve? (Support from friends and family. Our greatest source of strength comes from our Heavenly Father, no matter how difficult the situation is we are facing.)
Jesus had a wonderful Heavenly Father. Though Jesus doubtless spent time with His Father daily, He knew the time was near for suffering and sorrow in a way no one had ever, or would ever, experience. He did what any child would do; He ran for strength and comfort into the loving arms of His Father.
Jesus and His disciples had finished their Passover meal. Jesus had shared the broken bread and cup that represented His broken body and shed blood. They walked out the East Gate of Jerusalem, across the valley to the Mount of Olives to a garden called Gethsemane. Here we see Jesus display His humanity perhaps more clearly than at any other time in His earthly life.
Committed To The Task! Read Matthew 26:36-39
1. How would you describe the emotions we see Jesus express here?
2. What did Jesus instruct Peter, James and John to do while He went a little further to pray? (In Luke 22:40, Luke records that Jesus said “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” I know Matthew records this later but it seems Jesus was expecting them to remain in prayer as He prayed.)
3. In what ways did Jesus show His humanity in these verses? (As a man, Jesus was struggling in the same way we do. He knew the horror of physical suffering that was ahead of Him.)
4. How did He show His divinity in these verses? (As the Son of God, Jesus was completely willing to go through the horror of death on the cross. But is the physical suffering all that Jesus would have to endure on the cross?)
5. What was Jesus’ attitude as He faced impending death? (Jesus would have “this cup” pass from Him! In the Old Testament, “cup” is used to describe divine wrath and judgment—see Ps. 76:7-8; Isa. 51:17.)
6. In what ways would Jesus suffer on the cross that no man has ever had to suffer? (Read 2 Cor. 5:21. Because Jesus would take upon Himself the sin of the world, the Father would turn away, unable to look upon sin. In a way that we cannot even begin to understand, the Father and Son were torn apart by my sin! Many people have been physically tortured and nailed to a cross, burned alive, covered with boiling oil and other hideous means of torturous deaths. But when Jesus bore the sin of the world He was separated from the Father, and it was more than He wanted to bear.)
7. What emotional response do you have to verse 39?
8. What did Jesus resolve to do in verse 39?
9. How does verse 39 compare to your prayer practices?
10. What does Jesus’ willingness to follow the Father’s direction reveal to us about His trust in the Father? (Jesus knew the Father possessed the power to provide a way to escape from those who wanted to kill Him, but Jesus completely embraced the will of the Father to the point of death on a cross.)
11. When have you wrestled with God over a situation or hardship?
12. Why is praying that the Father’s will be done such a hard prayer? (Sometimes our desires and the Father’s will are not necessarily the same. We might prefer an easier path when the Father’s will is a harder course. We might know God’s plan is best, but sometimes we still wish for a different outcome.)
Surrendering to God’s will is ALWAYS the best solution!
Asleep On The Job! Read Matthew 26:40-43
1. How did Jesus’ disciples let His down?
2. Do we ever “fall asleep” when we are supposed to be doing what Jesus told us to do? (We are imperfect, so we fail at times despite our best intentions. We sometimes choose our own sinful ways instead of living as obedient Christ-followers.)
3. What instructions did Jesus give His “inner three” this time?
4. For whom did He instruct them to pray?
5. How did Jesus indicate that prayer would benefit Peter?
6. What did Jesus mean by saying “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”?
7. How is Jesus’ prayer here different from the first? (As Jesus faced the misery that awaited Him now, He demonstrated His own submission to the Father’s will without regard for what it would cost Him. There seems to be a progression in His prayer to more complete surrender.)
8. What can we learn from Jesus’ prayer here to apply in our own prayer life? (It is not a sin to continue to pray to God about a particular situation numerous times. In fact, keep praying until you receive an answer, even right up to the time the final decision has to be made.)
9. How can we support each other during hard times? (We need to be spiritually alert as we support each other in our Christian walks. Spending regular time in prayer and praying for each other are essential. Through prayer and words of encouragement we can help each other stand strong against temptation.)
Realizing The Moment! Read Matthew 26:44-46
1. How might we be sleeping when we should be alert and praying? (The time had come for Jesus to pay the price for all the sins of humanity. We must guard against spiritual laziness. Are we prioritizing Bible study, prayer, and service in the kingdom? We want God to find us spiritually alert and at work when He returns!)
2. In what way was this a defining moment for Jesus? (His first defining moment was at His baptism when He publicly accepted His mission as Messiah!)
3. What role did Jesus’ understanding of His purpose have in His actions here?
4. What steps can we take to recognize God’s work in our world? (Jesus prayed and committed to follow God regardless of the cost. Every believer is important and has work to do for the kingdom. Each of us should be doing our part in service. Your part in kingdom work is between you and God. And God will seldom tell you what someone else’s service is to be for the kingdom. Leave that up to God.)
Summarize and Challenge!
1. How should Jesus’ willing submission to the Father’s will shape our response when God calls us to action?
· We should willingly obey God’s plan for our lives!
· We should give thanks through our words and actions for the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us!
· We should remain alert and faithful as we serve each day in God’s kingdom!
2. What are some actions we can take to remain spiritually alert?
Consider your own situation and develop a list of practical steps you can take to help you stay spiritually alert and remain faithful to God’s plans for your life.