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An Answer to Prayer

Mark 14:32-39
   And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.
   And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;
   And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
   And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
   And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
   And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?
   Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
   And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.

      Jesus Christ prayed to God, that if it were possible, he might not have to go through the pain, suffering, and death which the Word of God clearly indicated the Christ would have to endure.  At the same time, Jesus Christ was humble and always did God's Will.  So he included in the prayer the statement that he would do God's Will no matter what the answer.  Mark tells us that he prayed this once and then he prayed again the same words.  To some it would appear that God did not hear this prayer or that God's answer was "NO."  Lets go to the Word of God to find out.

     Jesus Christ knew the Word of God.  Jesus Christ knew that God hears and answers prayer. 

John 11:42 
   And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
Psalm 10:17 
   LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
Psalm 20:6 
   Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
Psalm 34:17 
   The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
Psalm 65:2 
   O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

   The Word of God contains two other records of Jesus Christ's prayer in the garden of Gethsemane - the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew.  By using the Biblical research principle of *scripture build-up we see that *the immediate context of these three records provide us with evidence that God heard and answered Jesus Christ's prayer.

Luke 22:41-45
   And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
   Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
   And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
   And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
   And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,

   The Gospel of Luke provides added information about Jesus Christ's prayer.  This record tells us that immediately after praying the first time, God sent an angel to strengthen him.  This is the first and immediate answer to the prayer.  However, being in an agony he prayed more earnestly after the angel strengthened him.  We know from Mark that "he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words."  As Jesus kept praying God kept supplying the answer he needed to do the job set before him.

Matthew 26:38-44
   Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
   And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
   And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
   Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
   He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
   And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
   And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

     The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus Christ prayed this prayer three times.  Although this record does not tell us about the angel that God sent to strengthen him after the first prayer it does provide additional information about God's answer.  As soon as Jesus Christ finished praying a multitude lead by Judas came to take him captive.  Peter took a sword to defend Jesus and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. 

Matthew 26:52-54
   Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
   Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
   But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

     After praying and receiving his answer, Jesus Christ stated to Peter that he could immediately have twelve legions of angels - that is 72 thousand! - and walk away from the situation.  He knew from God's Word that he had to go through the pain, suffering, and death of the cross to fulfill the Word of God.  Yet God made available twelve legions of angels if he chose to walk away.  That is just beyond my comprehension.   This is the second part of God's answer to the prayer.  God was there with him to support him.  God sent an angel to strengthen him and God let him know that an army of angels was available to him.  In humility and obedience Jesus Christ chose the more difficult road that lead to the fulfillment of God's Word and our salvation. 

Hebrews 5:7-9
   Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
   Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
   And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Philippians 2:8-9
  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

    Using the Biblical research principle of looking at the *remote context, we can see more of what God says about Jesus Christ's prayer and His answer.  First of all Hebrews 5:7 lets us know that God heard his prayer.  This record also tells us that Jesus Christ obeyed God and carried out the Word of God.   God rewards obedience to His Word and Jesus Christ was given the promise of rewards just as we are when we obey.

   God's answer to Jesus Christ's obedience was that Jesus Christ was made perfect and became the author of eternal salvation.  Philippians 2:9 tells us that God highly exalted him and gave him a name above every name.  Man's humility to God results in God's exaltation.  This is the third part of God's answer to his prayer and to his obedience.

Hebrews 12:2 
   Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

   Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus Christ was able to endure the cross "for the joy that was set before him."  God showed him what was to come.  The *immediate context of this verse tells us a part of that joy set before him was that he "set down at the right hand of God."  The *remote context of God's Word tells us more about this joy set before the Lord Jesus Christ:

Psalm 16:8-11
  I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
  For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
  Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Acts 2:25-28 
   For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
   Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
   Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
   Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

   Psalm 16 tells us that at the right hand of God there are pleasures for evermore and that in God's presence is fulness of joy.  Acts 2 lets us know that the passage from Psalms refers to Jesus Christ rather than David.  The joy set before the Lord Jesus Christ when he prayed in the garden was the knowledge that God would not leave his soul in the grave and that following his resurrection Jesus would be seated at the right hand of God where there is fullness of joy and pleasures for evermore.

Hebrews 2:9-11
  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

   Hebrew 2:9 tells us that by the grace of God, Jesus Christ was able to taste death for every man.   Grace is God's divine favor.  It was God's help and God's giving to him that made it possible for Jesus Christ to endure the sufferings and death of the cross.
   Again, we see the promise of what his obedience would accomplish.  He was tasting death in behalf of all men.  He was our substitute.  He would be able to "bring many sons unto glory" by his suffering.  His suffering would make available the family of God and a multitude of brethren.  We would be able to receive all this by grace.  It is a gift of God to us because Jesus Christ paid the price.  God made known to Jesus the gift of His grace that would become available to all because of his suffering.  A knowledge of God's grace gave Jesus Christ the help he needed to taste death for every man - not only God's grace to him, but also God's grace to those who would believe because of his obedience.

In Summary;

   In the garden of
Gethsemane, Jesus Christ prayed O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.  God heard his prayer and provided an answer:

God sent an angel to strengthen him.
God made available twelve legions of angels if he chose to walk away.
God provided a joyful hope:
    He would not be left in the grave.
    He would be seated at God's right hand for evermore.
    The joy of God's presence for evermore.
    The joy of God's countenance for evermore.
    God promised he would be crowned with glory and honor.
    God promised He would exalt him and give him a name above every name.
God provide grace to help in this time of need.
God promised he would taste death for every man and that his sufferings would bring eternal salvation by grace to all who believed.
    God promised his sufferings would result in brethren - bringing many sons unto glory.

Hebrews 4:14-16
  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Michael & Christine Cortright's Fellowship Homepage
© Copyright September  2005  Michael Cortright

The Biblical research principal of  The Immediate Context:

The Word of God is its own context. Every passage of scripture has its own importance derived from the place where it is located in the Word of God and the words used in each verse must be understood in light of the immediate context in which they are found. It is important when studying the words in God's Word that every word and verse remain in the context in which God placed it in His Word.  If the verse is clear and God has defined the meaning of a word, concept, or expression right where it is written, then going to past usage of that expression which contradict the defined meaning in the immediate context in an attempt to change the meaning is an inaccurate working of God's Word.

The Biblical research principal of  The Remote Context:

The Word of God, being one whole, is its own context. Each passage of scripture is to be read, explained, and understood in light of the rest of the Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God.  The Bible had many writers but only one author: God. All of the Word of God is "God-Breathed" and although the Word was delivered "at sundry times, and in divers manners:" it is the same God who authored ALL of it.  Many times a scripture in the Church Epistles will give a greater understanding of a scripture in the Old Testament or the Gospels.  This is not because Paul is expressing his opinion about a previous record.  This is because God has revealed to Paul something that was not previously known.  It is ALL God's Word. 

The Biblical research principal of Used Before:

The Word of God itself, being its own context, must be the source used to understand the words used in the Word. In the first usage of a word, expression, or idea, God provides an explanation which is usually complete enough to carry through all other references in the Bible of that same word, expression, or idea. If God ever changes the usage of a word or expression, He always explains it.  To understand a word or expression in the Word that is not clearly given in the immediate context you must look back in the word to see how God used that word or expression. The first use of the word or expression provides the initial meaning and the subsequent uses provide a deeper understanding. 

The Biblical research principal of Scripture Build-up:

Several passages of Scripture on an identical incident or subject may augment the information given in each other. It is especially important when studying records from the Word of God to recognize that each passage of Scripture relating to the same incident may not give the same details but the Scriptures must complement and agree with each other or we do not have the true Word of God. In studying the development of identical situations in various passages of Scripture, it becomes vitally important to observe The Word with a keen eye and perceptive mind to see the depth of it. If the situations are identical, that which is set forth in one Scripture cannot contradict that which is set forth in the other. However, one record may report certain details, another record may add others, and a third record still others. Put together the details from each individual record supply us with the whole picture.