Sermon Summary Notes
There were times when Jesus taught hard things. On the worst day in Jesus’ life—those twenty-four hours between his Passover meal with his disciples and his death. For three years Jesus loved and taught Judas, who then betrayed and sold him out. That same night the rest of his followers abandoned him too (Matthew 26:36–41). From this encounter we learn three truths.
(1) If we follow God in a fallen world, we will experience grief and distress (v. 37). He was under so much pressure that blood began to ooze out of the capillaries that lay just beneath his skin. It is not unchristian to be grieved and distressed; in fact, Jesus guaranteed it (John 16:33). Suffering is the gap between your desires and your circumstances. And the greater the gap between your desires and your circumstances, the greater your
suffering. What do you do when the gap seems more than you can bear? Sometimes we can change our circumstances, but other times we cannot or it would require that we disobey God. What then?
There is a stupid, destructive theology that says if you become a Christian, everything is going to be smooth. If you get God on your side, you will always be happy. You will be healthy and wealthy and you will prosper in everything that you do. That is a stupid, destructive theology; it is about as unbiblical as can be. And because it is not true, it won’t work at the time when you most need it—during suffering. No believer is exempt from suffering, not even a godly mans such as pastor and author Rick Warren, whose son recently died a suicide.
Not even the sinless Son of God. He wasn’t just facing the agony of the cross; what caused Jesus the most dread was knowing that for the first time in eternity, fellowship with his Heavenly Father would be broken.
What do you do when you are asked to drink a bitter cup that you don’t want to drink? Do you medicate your pain? Do you opt out of the path God has for you? Or, do you do what Jesus chose to do: to pray.
The second truth is that (2) if we are to follow God like Jesus did, then we must pray as Jesus prayed. His prayer that has two parts. In the first he brought his heart’s desire to God in a respectful way. The second part is
“Not my will, but your will be done.” A lot our prayer today is pagan, not Christian, prayer. It says: “Help me, Do this, Fix this, Do that. You obey me God!” True Christian prayer honestly expresses our desires, but ends
with “Not my will, but your will be done.” We are afraid of those words because we think that we know better than God.
Our final lesson is, (3) If we suffer and pray like Jesus prayed, God will redeem it all (v. 45). Jesus rose from prayer and marched towards the cross knowing the suffering it bring him. He was resolved to do the Fathers
will. As Rick Warren said, “Isn’t it great that in God’s garden of grace that fruit even grows on broken trees?” Rick and his family are broken, but God is giving them grace, redeeming their suffering, and bringing good
out of an evil.