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Study in John’s Gospel

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  1. Study in John’s Gospel Presentation 84

  2. Gethsemane Chap 18v1-11 Presentation 84

  3. Introduction John is not ignorant of the events that transpired in Gethsemane. But he is, concerned to place his own perspective on them. He wants to show Christ in his divine strength rather than in his human weakness, the triumph rather than the tragedy. And John seems to indicate a particular way in which the struggle in Gethsemane should be viewed by his use of the word “garden” in v1. Gethsemane is never referred to as the “Garden” except in John's Gospel. What might be John’s purpose? Does John not want us to contrast the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christ triumphed, with the Garden of Eden, where Adam the father of the human race was defeated? Presentation 84

  4. West of Eden This distinction has been made by many biblical expositors. A. W. Pink writes: "In Eden, all was delightful; in Gethsemane, all was terrible. In Eden, Adam and Eve spoke with Satan; in Gethsemane, the last Adam sought the face of His Father. In Eden, Adam sinned; in Gethsemane, the Saviour suffered. In Eden, Adam fell; in Gethsemane, the Redeemer conquered... In Eden the race was lost; in Gethsemane Christ announced, ‘I have not lost one of those you gave me' John 18:9. In Eden, Adam took the fruit from Eve's hand; in Gethsemane, Christ received the cup from His Father's hand. In Eden, Adam hid himself; in Gethsemane, Christ boldly showed Himself." There are sufficient contrasts here to indicate a particular approach to Jesus' struggle. Presentation 84

  5. Good v Evil The first contrast worth developing is what faced Adam and Jesus in their respective gardens. Adam entered Eden at the peak of God's creative activity. It was a world without sin or death and thus perfect in every way. God had made man vice-regent over this world, and said, “let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth” Gen. 1v26. Presentation 84

  6. Good v Evil Moreover, God blessed man, saying, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground... I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground -everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food.” v28-30 Adam and Eve had all this and yet by their disobedience turned their back on it. Presentation 84

  7. Good v Evil By contrast, in his garden, Jesus faced physical death in what is probably the most prolonged and excruciating form known to man, and secondly, spiritual death, from which even his highly disciplined and divinely motivated soul shrank in deep horror... “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” Matt.26v39. Nevertheless, Jesus did not turn from this but embraced it willingly for our salvation. Presentation 84

  8. God v Satan The second contrast to note is the time Adam and Eve spent talking to Satan and the time Jesus spent talking with God. The need for prayer was at the forefront of Christ's mind. He leaves Jerusalem for this, a quiet place in order to pray. He separates himself from the larger band of disciples after encouraging them to pray Lk. 22:40… Clearly, Jesus felt the need for prayer. But Adam and Eve, when on the brink disobedience that would condemn the human race, did not pray. Oblivious to their danger they chose instead to commune with Satan. Presentation 84

  9. God v Satan Why did Jesus feel the need of prayer? Because he felt the force of temptation. He had experienced temptation throughout his ministry. And the more temptation is resisted the more intense it often becomes. Here then is the climax of the temptation of Jesus. To what was he tempted? Here we can only speculate, recognising that where Scripture is silent we must say little. Yet surely central to the temptation was to avoid the cross and so leave the work of the atonement undone! Presentation 84

  10. God v Satan The lesson for us is not drawn from the nature of Jesus’ temptations, though ours are often quite similar i.e. to avoid God's work, to attempt to do it in a way that would cost us little. Rather, it is in Christ's dependence on prayer. Do we value prayer as a means of resisting temptation? Or, do we have lingering conversations with the Tempter, as Adam and Eve did, or do we sleep on, as the disciples did? Presentation 84

  11. Two Fell, One Conquered The third contrast lies between Jesus victory, and Adam and Eve’s fall. How soon did they fall? Almost instantly. Satan presented his arguments, and they ate the forbidden fruit. Jesus, on the other hand, wrestled in prayer and only prevailed at the end. Matthew’s record indicates this. First Jesus prayed that the cup which God had poured might, if possible, be taken away. His second petition is similar but without the explicit request that the cup be removed. The third petition - not recorded - must have been to the effect, "I know now that You have given me this cup and that it is your will that I drink it; therefore, I will drink it completely." Jesus must have come to this point, for immediately after this he rose and went forward to meet the arresting party. Presentation 84

  12. Two Fell, One Conquered How long did Jesus’ prayer take? We can read the entire account in Matthew in less than a minute. But Jesus prayed at least one hour. For when he came to wake his disciples after his first period of prayer, He asked, "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" v. 40. It was after a protracted period of time that he came to embrace the will of God fully in the matter of his death. This conflict, like all the other incidents in Scripture, was recorded for our benefit. It shows us how we too may prevail in prayer when we are cast down, distressed, and tempted. Notice Jesus kept at prayer until - I speak of his humanity - his will was conformed to God's will. That was the point of victory! Presentation 84

  13. Two Fell, One Conquered We too shall have troubles. Temptations will come; there will be crosses to bear. But we will have victory when, through a submission of our will to God in prayer, we receive with willing hearts whatever God has for us. In that case, it will not be our will versus God's, as was the case with Adam. Rather it will be God's will and ours together, as was the case with Jesus and the Father. Presentation 84

  14. The Fruit of the Cup “Adam took the fruit from Eve's hand” while in Gethsemane, “Jesus received the cup from his Father's hand.”This points up a great biblical principle - it is always better to have the cup of life from God's hand, no matter what it contains, than anything else, however desirable, from the hand of another. Why? Because God is the wise, all-powerful, loving God of the universe, the one who truly wishes our good. Others may wish us well. But even if they do, what they choose or recommend for us is not necessarily what will turn out to be beneficial in the long run. Presentation 84

  15. The Fruit of the Cup The tree in the Garden, that seemed to be desirable from the human perspective, actually brought death to the human race. On the other hand, the cup presented to Christ, although it contained both physical and spiritual death - and although it was in the world's eyes a thing of foolishness – it was actually life and wisdom for God's people. Let me repeat. Whatever God sends, whether joy or sorrow, health or sickness, whatever it may be - this is actually best. For it is the wise, all-powerful, and loving God who sends it. Presentation 84

  16. Not One Lost The final contrast is the most significant. Adam and Eve by their sin plunged the race into misery. They carried their progeny over the cliff of sin into the fire of destruction. Christ, on the other hand, stood firm. He was ‘obedient unto death’Phil.2v8. As a result, he saved all whom the Father had given him. In Adam all were lost. Jesus could say of the new humanity he represented, "I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost" John 17v12. That is the meaning of Gethsemane. Presentation 84

  17. Not One Lost One writer puts it this way, "Sin, death, and judgment flowed from the act of Adam. Righteousness, life and kingship flow from the cross of Christ. The sin of Adam was a stone cast into a pool which sent ripples to every inlet. The cross of Christ was the rock of ages cast into the ocean of the love of God, and it is the destiny of all who are in Christ to be carried on the swell of this majestic love and life and power both now and forever." Presentation 84

  18. Conclusion I believe that John takes us to the Garden of Gethsemane via the Garden of Eden in order that we might begin to grasp something of the cost and benefit of the obedience of Jesus. A poor appreciation of Gethsemane results in a poor appreciation of Calvary and John wants all of his readers to glory in the cross of Christ. May God help us do just that as we grow in our appreciation of what took place in Gethsemane. Presentation 84