Online Sunday School. The Gospel of Matthew, God with Us,. Kerygma materials, Chapter 12. Matthew, Chapter 26. Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane

31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd,     and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” 33 Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples. 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38 Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

  1. These passages show the difficult theology about Jesus that has developed over the centuries. In the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) Jesus prays frequently, but nowhere more seriously than here.
  2. What does this passage say about Jesus?
  3. Earlier passages in Matthew suggest Jesus is
    1. “the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” 1,1.
    2. “he will save his people from their sins.” 1, 21.
    3. “he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
    4. “This is my Son, the Beloved,with whom I am well pleased.” 3, 17 (baptism); 15, 5 (transfiguration).
    5. “the Son of Man.” 8, 20; 9, 6; 10, 23; 12, 8, 32; 40; 13, 37; 16, 27-28; 17, 9, 12, 22; 19, 28; 20, 18; 24, 27, 30, 37, 39, 44; 25, 31; 26, 2, 45. “Son of Man” in the Old Testament is
      1. how God addresses the prophet Ezekiel. Ez 2, 1, 3;
      2. human beings who are small as contrasted with God. Ps 8, 4;  Numbers 23, 19. ;
      3. the figure in Daniel’s vision, to whom God gives an everlasting dominion and whom all people should serve.
    6. “Son of God”. 8, 29; 14, 33; 27, 54.
    7. “Human being” 9, 8
    8. “Son of David”; 9, 27. 20, 30-31. 21, 9.
    9. “more than a prophet” 11, 9;
    10. “God’s servant” 12, 18
    11. “The Messiah,the Son of the living God.” 16, 16. 26, 63-64
    12. “Teacher” 17, 24. 19, 16. 22, 24, 36.
  1. Later theologies, such as John’s gospel suggest Jesus is “The Word” and God and The Word made flesh. The church discerned a “Triune (three in one) God” of 3 persons Father, son (Jesus) who is “begotten not made,” and Holy Spirit. Others say Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. Also that in Jesus, God out of love for humankind took onto God’s self the punishment required for humankind’s sins, thereby saving humankind.
  2. What light does the story of Gethsemane shed on theologies about Jesus?
  3. The Gethsemane story may be not as much about theology of Jesus and more about the human reaction to the call of discipleship. Jesus does not want to be deserted, abused and tortured and is “deeply grieved, even to death.” He asks God to relieve him from the abandonment, abuse, pain and death but finally says “not what I want but what you (God) want .” We do not want to face paying the cost of discipleship either. Jesus is our model and if we follow him we may need to do what he did.
  4. If we follow Jesus, love those who do us harm and speak truth to power, we may face desertion and loss, and be grieved about this. Has this happened in your life? What did you do and how did you make your decisions? Has this happened to others you know? How did you interact with them? What should you do in these situations, and what makes that possible? What should the church do?
 Photos of the garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem, taken on Mosaic of Peace 2016.