Sunday, March 15, 2009

Conversations with Jesus

Conversations with Jesus

Intro.: What do you think of when you think of a garden?
  1. Flowers, arrangements, tools, gardeners, etc

  2. Do rock gardens fit into your definition, what about herb gardens, vegetable garden, water garden, or butterfly garden

  3. In fact Jesus is in an atypical garden – the garden of Gethsemane is a garden composed of Olive Trees – in fact some of those trees still exist today.

  4. Jesus is not there for some picnic or a calming experience as he walks through it.

  5. But what takes place is far more important.

Read: Matthew 26:30-46 Pray

Trans: As Jesus and the eleven remaining disciples leave the Upper Room they sing a hymn

  1. I suppose that we never know exactly what hymn they sang that night.

  2. But we can make an educated guess.

  3. There were a group of six Psalms that were sung each year at Passover. They are called the praise Psalm or in Hebrew, Hallel.

  4. We read one of those hymns today as our responsive reading.

  5. The six Psalms (112-118) were divided into two sets of three. The three were read at the beginning of the Passover service. The other three were sung at the conclusion of the service.

  6. It was probably one of these Psalms that was sung as the disciples walked from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane.

T.S. I want to spend the next few minutes looking at the lessons found in the three conversations that are recorded in Matthew 26:30-46.

  1. Conversation #1: Walking to Gethsemane

    1. Communion was over. Jesus and His disciples have left the upper room. As they begin to make their way over to a small public garden on the eastern side of Jerusalem.

      (Ill.) The Eastern border of Jerusalem was a small stream or brook, the Kidron, that was just outside the Eastern wall. As you travel further East you will start climbing the Mount of Olives. But to get there you will pass through Garden of Gethsemane – a grove of olive trees, some of which still exist to this day.
    1. But before they get there, Jesus makes one His those statements that the disciples wished they had never heard. “Tonight, all of you will desert me.” It was one of those things that when said just hits you in the stomach and leaves you wondering why it had to be said aloud.

    2. It is not only Jesus that has said it, but he also quotes from the prophet Zechariah. Sadly, no one but Peter seems to argue with Jesus, at least at first. They are strangely quiet – except for Peter.

    3. Not me, Lord. I never will. Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” Only after Peter has affirmed his desire to sacrifice everything, do the other disciples join in.

(Appl.) I will briefly remind you that, like Judas Iscariot, spending time with Jesus is no guarantee. But I don't want spend a great deal of time here – we did that a couple of weeks ago. It has not changed, but it does not need to said again. But there is more.

    1. You see, Jesus has more to say. Listen to Him. “After I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead to you to Galilee and meet you there.”

(Appl.) We each will experience dark times. It might be spiritual – when God seems far away. Or perhaps it is a physical illness – when God seems so distant. Or maybe is a loss of a loved one or something of value – and we feel so alone. Yet, when I go through bad times, when we go through dark times, maybe we can still hear Jesus speaking, “...I will go before you...” And I will look forward to meeting Him there. I hope you do too.

  1. Conversation #2: Talking to God

    1. Jesus begins by talking to the eleven remaining disciples. But when they finally arrive at the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus grabs three of closest – the same three that had been with Him at the transfiguration: Peter, James, and John.

    2. As Jesus go off alone with His closest associates, there are two separate interactions – we will start by looking at Jesus conversation with His Father. Then we will turn to the last major conversation He has with His disciples before His arrest.

    3. As we look at Jesus conversation with His Father, we note two things. First, even though Jesus chose to be a sacrifice, He was not looking forward to the events that were about to occur.

(Ill.) One of the naval heroes of the War of 1812 – when the British tried to retake what had become the United States – was Oliver Hazard Perry. He was war hero, winning several major battles. But Commander Perry had a quirky problem. You see, he had a pathological fear of cows. He would change his route to avoid a cow, he would refuse to enter barns or fields that had cows.1 (Appl.) As believers we all have fears. Jesus was afraid. “Take this cup from me” was his prayer. As believers we will have fear. As believers we will have temptations. And as believers we may find times that we fail. But you know what, failure does end our relationship with God. Jesus' world was about to be turned upside down. He was experiencing the loss of His Father for the very first time. He was now alone – and He would be until His resurrection on that first Easter morning. Christ died for our sins – and if I believe that my relationship with God is severed every time I sin, I am saying that He death was not good enough. Oh, my sin does damage the relationship I have with God, but it does not sever it.

    1. And that brings us to the second part of Jesus' conversation with God. “Take this cup from me; but, none the less, thy will be done.”

(Appl.) I may not like everything God asks of me, I may not like everything that God sends my way. But am I willing to still sit back and acknowledge that God is in control; am I still willing to sit back and say “Thy will be done”?

  1. Conversation #3: Talking to Three friends

    1. Jesus' prayer was only one of the conversations that took place in the Garden that night. Interspersed with His prayer are a series of discussions with the three disciples that had accompanied further into the Garden of Gethsemane.

    2. Peter, James, and John, had a simple job – watch and pray. And in fact there is not yet much watching to do.

    3. And the disciples fall asleep – not surprising. It had been a hard day. The things Jesus had said were hard, it was not late in the evening or very early in the morning. Sleep was natural – but they had been asked to pray.

(Appl.) But you know what, praying is hard. Life gets in the way. Clothes need to be washed. Dishes need to be done. We need to go to work. Life gets in the way. Yet Paul, a few years later, writes “Pray without ceasing.” But I don't – I doubt that you do. Let me give you five hints as when to pray. None of this is new-but sometimes we need a reminder:

  1. Pray when you hear a siren or see an emergency vehicle
  2. Pray at the end of a conversation
  3. Pray as you read your newspaper or hear the news
  4. Pray as your feet hit the floor first thing in the morning
  5. Pray as you lay in bed at night (and maybe like disciples you will go to sleep)

You may, at times, forget – but you will remember. Like the disciples we are called to pray.

Conclusion: Take time this evening to look again at these three conversations.

  1. Ask yourself, which one you need to hear again?

  2. Do you need to hear Jesus say he will go before you?

  3. Do you need to follow Jesus example and say in the midst of a difficult time, “Thy will be done.”

  4. Do you need to remember to pray during your busy day?

  5. Or was there something else in the passage that you need to hear?

  6. Take time this evening to look again at Matthew 26:30-46 and ask what it is that God wants you to do?


1Hurley, V. (2000, c1995). Speaker's sourcebook of new illustrations (electronic ed.) (81). Dallas: Word Publishers.

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