Matthew 26:37, Luk 22:44 (A Man of Sorrows; Jesus’ Agony)

Following Jesus’ last Passover with His disciples He retired to a garden on the Mount of Olives called Gethsemane, which means an olive press.  For here in obedience to the will of the Father He would be pressed by the sins of the world in order that the oil of His Holy Spirit might be poured out upon His disciples who would follow Him in the way of the cross.  As the cup He would drink was now being prepared and the baptism about which He was distressed was now at hand, He also now, more than ever, began to feel the weight of those sins.  Matthew communicates that He was grieved, which can also mean sorrowful, or even angry, just as we would be according to our own human nature which He shared, that one of His disciples would betray Him, that the rest in whom He had poured His life for the past years would quickly fall away from Him and even deny Him, that those very closest to Him who had pledged themselves even to die with Him couldn’t tarry even an hour with Him during His darkest hour, and that those He came to save would crucify Him and then mock Him as He died.  Mark also records that He was sore amazed (Mar 14:33) or alarmed, even rattled by the terror of death and the powers of darkness arrayed against Him.  In what way were the things king David experienced and the emotions he suffered a type of those the Son of David was now experiencing?  See Psa 18:4-5, 41:5,9, 55:4-5,12-14, 116:3, and recall that Jesus would have just sang Psa 116:3 with His disciples at the conclusion of their Passover celebration.

What other word does Mark use to describe Jesus’ affliction in the garden?  See Mar 14:33, and notice that the NAS troubled is the same word found in Mat 26:37 but translated there as distressed, which the KJV translates as very heavy.  The word means literally to not be at home among one’s people and refers to the anxious longing and discomfort of such separation.  It is the same word used of Epaphroditus whom the Philippians had sent to Paul; he had been very sick and was distressed and longing for them because they had heard of his condition; Phil 2:25-27.  Although Jesus had no earthly home to speak of (cf. Mat 8:20), what separation was no doubt weighing heavy upon Him in those moments just before the suffering He knew was about to come upon Him?  See Mat 27:46; cf. Joh 14:2,23.  How does the separation Jesus experienced from the Father help us to understand why the sorrow that overcame Him when facing His cross was quite different from any sorrow that might overcome us when facing our own?  See 2Co 5:8 and consider that whereas Jesus’ sacrifice in some sense separated Him from the Father as He was given over to death for sins He did not commit (cf. 2Co 5:21), it opened the way for us to be reconciled to the Father by showing us the way through death to eternal life.  In contrast to the sorrow that Jesus bore upon the cross, with what does His sacrifice allow those who follow Him in the way of the cross to face theirs, and why?  See Phil 2:17, Col 1:24, Jam 1:2; Isa 53:3-6, Gal 3:13, and note[1].

What additional word does Luke use to describe what came upon Jesus in the garden that evening?  See Luk 22:44 and notice that agony there is a transliteration of the Greek ἀγωνία that refers to a contest, a striving or struggle for victory, that also came to be used for the severe emotional state of anguish or anxiety associated with that struggle; cf. Phil 1:30, Col 2:1, 1Th 2:2, 1Ti 6:12, 2Ti 4:7, Heb 12:1 for a closely related cognate word.  What might we understand was the struggle or contest that Jesus was engaged in there in the garden that was the source of such agony?  See Mat 26:39; cf. Mar 10:38-39, Luk 4:13, Luk 9:51, 12:50.  How exactly does Luke say that Jesus was engaging in the struggle He was facing?  See Luk 22:44.  What does this remind us about where the real battles are fought and won?  Cf. Mat 26:39.  Although we most often think of Jesus’ suffering in terms of the physical affliction He endured from being beaten, scourged, and then crucified, what does His ἀγωνία in the garden teach us about when and where His real struggle for victory took place?  What does this also teach us about when and where our own struggles for victory take place?  Is it when the manifestation of that battle takes place in the flesh, or before that in the spiritual battle that either strengthens us for victory or leaves us weak and already defeated?  Contrast 1Sa 28:5-6,20, and 1Sa 30:6.  Shall we then suppose that the spiritual battle is less important, or less of a struggle, than the physical?  In fact, how does Luke describe the intensity of the struggle Jesus faced in the garden?  See Luk 22:44 and note that the sweating of blood is a real medical condition called hematidrosis that is occasioned by extreme stress or anguish, such as when a soldier is facing death.  Why is it not surprising that Luke would mention this that was omitted by the other gospels?  See Col 4:14.



[1] On the saints’ cross there is a blessing pronounced, which enables them to rejoice under it (Mat 5:10,12); but to Christ’s cross there was a curse annexed, which made him sorrowful and very heavy under it.  And his sorrow under the cross was the foundation of their joy under it.  Matthew Henry