“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Rom. 1:17
From The Christian Church in the Last Days
However we interpret the many sides of the agony of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, in trying to understand the limitlessness of the divine love of God, one important lesson stands out. If God is going to ask me to give my all, and He is offering His help in this regard, then I must have confidence that He has actually been there Himself ahead of me. I must have absolute confidence that my Guide through this adventure of faith truly knows the best possible route to take. In some way that we can only begin to discover through our own God-composed biblical walk of faith, the human side of Jesus Christ gave His all in Gethsemane and at Calvary, in exhibiting unselfish love and pure righteousness in the face of enormous opposition, in order to pre-qualify Himself to be the way, the truth, and the life.
One of the accounts of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is recorded in Luke 22:39-46:
39 And he came out, and went, as he was accustomed, to the Mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him.
44 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.
45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow.
46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
The previous chapter noted that Luke 22:44 says that Jesus prayed “more earnestly” and that this is a remarkable statement. We would naturally think that the initial earnest prayer of Jesus regarding any issue would always be entirely adequate the first time, seeing that He is the eternal, perfect Son of God. The fact that Jesus (God) had to go back a second time and pray more earnestly, tells us just how difficult it was to take upon Himself the sins and transgressions of mankind.
We see in the divine approach that Jesus takes in the Garden of Gethsemane toward this great challenge, a pattern for how we are to confront the difficulties and challenges in our own lives. Jesus was spiritually battling and overcoming the world’s sin, which is based upon rebellion and self-autonomy in mankind, by using the opposite, counter-balancing weapons of surrender, dependence, and reliance upon God the Father’s way instead of His own way (Luke 22:34). It took the direct opposite attitude of living for oneself, of putting one’s own interests first, of side-stepping a difficult situation, of saving one’s own skin, and of running away from a challenge, for Jesus to cancel out the sum total of mankind’s sin and fulfill His role as the Lamb of God sacrifice for sin. This is the part of the first advent, messianic scenario that the self-absorbed Lucifer totally miscalculated. This is how God used the short-sighted blindness of evil, rooted in self-centeredness, to turn the lowliness of the cross into the exalted glory of the resurrection for our benefit.
This is precisely why the cross of Christ, for man, is the way back to God (Isaiah 53:6). The way back to God is not through self-autonomy or self-direction, using our God-given natural gifts and abilities independently apart from God. These are the “fallen” tendencies that got us into trouble to begin with in the Garden of Eden, that actually separated us from a relationship with God and that Jesus is redeeming us from on the cross.