As you follow Jesus, you will find yourself facing a major dilemma. There will be tension and conflict between your will and God’s will. What you want to do and what God wants to do will not line up. You may find yourself wanting what God wants, but you don’t want to do it the way God wants you to do it. When your will and God’s don’t line up, for whatever reason, that is when you find yourself in a Gethsemane moment.
Gethsemane Moment Defined
Today, we are going to continue our examination of your Gethsemane moment. A Gethsemane moment is a time when you are tempted to avoid doing what God wants you to do because you know that doing it will cost you dearly and hurt you deeply. You are not going to want to do it, but you know God wants you to do it. You know it’s the right thing to do and the right way to do it, but it will come at great sacrifice on your part. Your Gethsemane involves a battle between your willing spirit to do what is right and your weaknesses to do what is easy.
Let me set the stage. Jesus took His disciples to an olive grove called Gethsemane. Most of His disciples were told to wait at the entrance of Gethsemane. However, Jesus took three of them (Peter, James, and John) deeper into the grove. Jesus becomes deeply troubled and distressed. He told the three that His soul was “crushed with grief to the point of death.” He then says, “Stay here and keep watch with me.” Then Jesus walks about 50 feet away and fell to the ground. “He prayed that if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by.” After about an hour, Jesus returns to the disciples and finds them sleeping. Jesus says to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (see Mark 14:32-38). We have already looked at all that in detail. This brings us to verse 39.
Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. 40 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. 41 When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” (Mark 14:39-42, NLT)
Jesus had His own Gethsemane. If you follow Jesus, you will experience your own Gethsemane. The principles we are going to be learning are truths that help you to understand your Gethsemane moment. Those times when you know God’s will, but you don’t want to do it.
There are five biblical principles you need to be aware of in regard to your Gethsemane. We have already looked at three, let’s review and then take a good look at another one.
You will experience denial
The first lesson: you will experience denial. In your Gethsemane moment, your prayer of faith will be answered with a no. In verses 38-40, we see Jesus praying the same prayer three times. Perfect Jesus is praying in perfect faith with a perfect prayer with a perfect relationship with the Heavenly Father. Jesus is asking the Heavenly Father to remove the cup of suffering from Him that He is about to face. The Heavenly Father tells Jesus no.
One of the things we learn from this is that praying in faith is not about getting what you want, but wanting what God wants. When you pray in faith, you should be moved to obey in faith. Your prayer of faith will sometimes be answered with a “no.” We took a hard look at that a few weeks ago.
You will experience loneliness
The second lesson: you will experience loneliness. In your Gethsemane, you will feel alone, even though you are not. God has said no to your prayer about removing your suffering, and it appears that those closest to you don’t care, but they actually do; they are unbale to express their concern due to their own weaknesses.
During Jesus’ time of agony in Gethsemane His three closest disciples and friends could not stay awake for Him. There were no prayers from them. No words of encouragement from them. No questions of concern or compassion from them. When Jesus woke them up and asked about them sleeping rather than praying, they didn’t know what to say. He knew they cared but couldn’t or was unable to express their concern due to their own weaknesses. That’s what Jesus meant when He told them, Your spirit is willing, but your body is weak.
During your Gethsemane, you are going to find that the people you expected to be there for you, are not. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care. The bottom line is you are going to feel alone, but you are really not. We looked at this in great detail a few weeks ago.
You will experience compassion
Number three, you will experience compassion. Remember, in your Gethsemane you will feel alone, but you will not be alone. When you are in your most difficult and darkest times of your life and you are seeking God’s guidance and help, He may tell you no, but He will not abandon you. He will show compassion. He will give you strength and He will supernaturally minister to you during that time. Let me show you.
Something significant happens during Jesus’ Gethsemane moment. Mark does not comment on this, but Luke does. In Luke 22 we are told, He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. (vs. 41-43, NLT). From that one sentence we see that God is an on-time God, He is a caring God, a present God, and an enabling God. He is and does all those things because He is a compassionate God. The word angel means messenger. An angel can be a supernatural being or an angel can be a human being that God sends into your life to encourage you and help guide you. Either way, God is going to show you compassion during your Gethsemane. Again, we look at all of that last time.
You will experience betrayal
Number four, (and our focus for today) you will experience betrayal. Your Gethsemane is going to hurt. When you are in your Gethsemane you will be betrayed by someone. This betrayal can show up in a variety of ways and with different levels of intensity. They may deceive you, be disloyal to you, or let you down in some way. During your Gethsemane you feel the pain of betrayal. This is what happened to Jesus in verse 41, When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”[i]
From this we see a few lessons about betrayal we need to be aware of as we follow Jesus through our own Gethsemane.
We can betray people by not being prepared
Number one, you can betray people by not being prepared. I think couples can betray each other by not preparing themselves to be the kind of spouse their spouse needs. I think parents can betray their children by not preparing themselves as parents. I think pastors and church leaders can betray the church they shepherd by not preparing themselves. If you have an opportunity to prepare yourself for what is coming so you can face it with confidence or help someone else face something and you don’t prepare yourself then you are betraying everyone involved including yourself.
We see this with Jesus and the disciples. In their weakness, Peter, James, and John proved unable to stay alert, even after being awakened and encouraged twice by Jesus. When they should have been preparing themselves with prayer for the coming confrontation, they were sleeping. Now, the moment had arrived, and they were spiritually unprepared. Sometimes prayer is not about getting what you want, it’s about getting prepared for what is coming. For the disciples, they needed to prepare themselves with prayer and they didn’t do it. They betrayed Jesus and themselves through their inaction.
Judas would commit the ultimate betrayal, but the disciples would betray Jesus by not preparing themselves for what lies ahead. They would flee, hide, and abandon Jesus through His trials, beatings, humiliation, and crucifixion.
During your Gethsemane, you may get a taste of that. The people who you thought would help you, didn’t and don’t. Even though God was trying to get their attention by waking them up over and over again encouraging them to prepare themselves they ignored God and didn’t do what He told them to do. As a result, they were not prepared to help you, couldn’t understand what was going on, nor did they understand your needs, or were unable to deal with what was happening appropriately. As a result, you will feel betrayed because they didn’t help and were unable to help.
The point is, we can betray people by not being prepared. Listen closely to what God’s Word says about this.
- In the middle of describing the armor of God in Ephesians 6, God’s Word says, “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared” (v.15, NLT). Fully prepared for the spiritual battle that is coming for you and those in your life.
- Now listen to what God’s Word says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (NLT). If you are not in God’s Word and receiving God’s Word then you are not getting prepared for what is coming in your life and in the lives of those who will need you to be prepared.
- One more, 1 Peter 1:13 says, “So prepare your minds for action….” (NLT). The devil does not want you to think right. He wants you to be mentally lazy. He does not want you think deep thoughts about God, healthy thoughts about your spouse, or excellent thoughts about you. If you are not preparing your mind for action then when the action takes place you will not be ready for your own Gethsemane or to encourage those who are going through a Gethsemane.
When you don’t prepare yourself you are saying you are not important enough, others are not important enough and God is not important enough. Lack of preparation is a form of betrayal. That’s a dangerous place to be. So prepare yourself.
Betrayal is to be confronted head on
Number two, betrayal is to be confronted head on. God does not want you to be mean about it, but He doesn’t want you to ignore it or run from it. When you are betrayed, address it head on.
Look at what Jesus says again in verse 41, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” The phrase but no can be translated “enough” and most Bible translations translate it this way (CSB, ESV, NASB).
Jesus is saying, “Enough. No more sleep. The time for prayer is over. The time to prepare ourselves for what is coming is ended. The time has come to face the betrayer and the betrayal.” Jesus was through praying about this, and the time had come to face His betrayer and to take on the sins of the world.
This tells me there is a time to pray and then face what you have been praying about. Based on what God’s Word tells us, Jesus loved Judas. He prayed for Judas. He discipled Judas. He was patient with Judas. He taught Judas. He spent time with Judas. The time had come to face Judas, His betrayer.
Something similar will happen with you during your Gethsemane. In your Gethsemane, you will have this person who you loved, blessed, were patient with, prayed for and experienced life with; but they will betray you. There will come a time when you will need to confront them on their betrayal.
Before we move on, I’m amazed at how Jesus loved Judas. Jesus knew the heart of Judas. He knew he was greedy. He knew he would sale out. He knew that Judas would turn on him. He knew that Judas would betray Him with a kiss. He knew all that. However, Jesus loved Judas so well and so equally among the disciples that when Jesus said that one of them would betray Him they couldn’t guess who it was. Jesus loved Judas really well, however Jesus would confront Judas on His betray. There is a lesson here about how to love our enemies.
Betrayal has severe consequences
Number three, betrayal has severe consequences. When you are betrayed, you may not be able to do anything about what happens next. The results of the betrayal may be very costly to you, to your family, or to your friends. Look at what Jesus said at the end of verse 41, The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Jesus says that He is betrayed and handed over into the hands of sinners. What that means is Jesus would be under their power and authority. For the next 18 hours of His life, Jesus will be literally in the hands of sinners. For the next 18 hours those hands will beat Him, bound Him, wound Him, whip Him, torture Him, bruise Him, and batter Him until He is no longer recognizable. This betrayal has severe consequences for Jesus.
I do want to point out, that about 18 hours later while hanging on the cross with the nails in His feet and hands, Jesus says something significant just before He dies. The Bible tells us in Luke 23, Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:46, ESV). Jesus goes from being in the hands of sinners to being in the hands of God.
When you are betrayed, you are going to feel the pain of what its like to be in the hands of a sinner. It’s going to hurt. Its going to seem unfair. Its going to seem like they are winning. They are getting what they want. While you are being humiliated, they are enjoying life.
Remember, while Jesus was in the hands of sinners, He knew that He was headed to the hands of His Heavenly Father. He knew and you know this place is not your home. Remember, while here on earth when you are betrayed there will be severe consequences out of your control. It’s going to hurt, but you are headed to heaven. Keep that thought in front of you,
Betrayal is not wasted by God
Number four, betrayal is not wasted by God. When you are in your Gethsemane and betrayed by someone who you loved and cared about its going to hurt you, but God is not going to squander this betrayal. He is going to use it.
In a strange, but prophetic way, God used the betrayal by Judas to get Jesus to the trials, which led to the crucifixion, which led to the cross, which led to the tomb, which led to the resurrection. On the overside of the betrayal was the resurrection and from that many people have been greatly blessed. Jesus is the perfect example of Romans 5:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV).
As you follow Jesus, something similar is going to happen. You are going to enter your Gethsemane, be betrayed, feel like you are being crucified (your world seems to be falling apart), you will trust God in the middle of all this and say, “Not my will, but your will be done” and you will die to yourself… but then there is a personal resurrection. You find yourself more like Jesus, stronger spiritually, wiser, confident in your Heavenly Father and you are able to bless numerous people because of what you have gone through. Betrayal is not wasted by God.
I think this series on Gethsemane is doing three things.
- It is preparing you for your personal Gethsemane. You will need to remember these things when it happens. God will bring them back to your heart and mind if you treasure them in your heart.
- It is preparing you to help someone else going through their Gethsemane. You may be the angel God uses to strengthen them.
- It is repairing the damage you experienced when you went through your Gethsemane, and you were not prepared.
Quotes to consider about betrayal:
- The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.
- It’s funny how sometimes the people you would take a bullet for are the ones behind the trigger.
- There are always lesson for a lifetimes to learn in every betrayal.
- The knives of betrayal cut deep and hurt, but they also trim away the excess fat of selfishness and reveal much about who you really are.
- Betrayal is the willful and intentional slaughter of trust.
- Keep talking about me behind my back, and watch God keep blessing me in front of your face.
- Don’t fear the enemy that attacks you, but the fake friend that hugs you.
[i] Some translations word this sentence as a statement, “God ahead and sleep. Have your rest,” while others translate it as a question, “Are you still sleeping and resting?” (CSB, ESV, NASB, NIV).