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Week 2 Of 24 Hours


24 HOURS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: SESSION 2: THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE

The Gathering and Getting Started: Please write prayer requests on index cards and place in the basket—those taking class online may email Kathleene at pumcpastor@peterboroughumc.org.

The Session's Goals are intended to help participants:

  • To explore the Gospels' account of Jesus' anguished prayer in the garden of Gethsemane

  • To examine the reasons behind Jesus' agony and how those explanations inform our understanding of Jesus' humanity and divinity in the context of the Passion;

  • To Consider our own experiences of despair and self-doubt and our struggle to recognize and accept God's will for us in light of Jesus' experience at Gethsemane

Opening Prayer (2 minutes)

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;

The Lord answered me and set me in a new place. With the Lord on my side I do not fear.

What can mortals do to me?

I shall not die but I shall live,

And recount the deeds of the Lord . . .

I was pushed hard so that I was falling, but he Lord helped me.

The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. (Verses from Ps. 118: 5-6; 17; 13-14)

Biblical Foundation (3 minutes)

Mark 14.26-27a; 32-42 (NRSV)

26 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, "You will all become deserters;

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33 He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34 And he said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake." 35 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 He said, "Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want." 37 He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? 38 Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. 41 He came a third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand."

Contemplating the text

Before going up to the Mount of Olives, Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn. Jesus probably had many of the Psalms on his mind as he walked to the Mount of Olives and when He knelt to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.

We are encouraged to read Psalm 118.

Psalm 118

A Song of Victory

1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. 6 With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can mortals do to me?

7 The Lord is on my side to help me; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in mortals. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they blazed[a] like a fire of thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 13 I was pushed hard,[b] so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly; 16 the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.” 17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. 18 The Lord has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.[c] 25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.[d] We bless you from the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.[e]

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you.

29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Video Presentation (Fewer than 7 minutes)

Sights:

  • The Garden of Gethsemane

3000-year-old Olive tree in Gethsemane

  • The Church of all nations and particularly the stars painted on the ceiling there

  • The rock considered the traditional site of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane Key Insights

Key Insights

  • Approaching the Holy Land as a pilgrim allows you to place yourself in the story, to imagine yourself trying to stay awake under an olive tree, or to kneel at the very place Christ may have thrown himself on the ground in agony.

  • Jesus began his public ministry by being tempted y the devil. Here in the garden, Jesus was tempted once again; “You don’t have to suffer, You don’t have to die, Just run!”

  • The Church of All Nations was designed to take pilgrims back to that night in the garden. The interior is dark. The ceiling is full of stars. Below a large mosaic of Christ kneeling in prayer is a large rock that pilgrims can kneel before and touch.

  • In both the garden of Eden and the garden of Gethsemane, the crucial question was, “God’s will or not?”

Possible Questions for Discussion: (25 minutes facilitator will direct)

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does the Gospels’ portrayal of Jesus’ anguish in the garden of Gethsemane inform or affect your understanding of who Jesus is? (Pg 41)

  1. When have you been comforted by the belief that God suffers and grieves with you even as God grieved over Jesus as He suffered on the cross? (Pg 42)

  1. Recall a time when you experienced anxiety over responding to God’s call to do something you did not want to do. How did you finally come to the point (if you did) of saying, “Not what I want, but what you want”? (Pg 45-46)

From pages 41-42

  • Recall a time when you experienced anxiety over responding to a call to do something that you did not want to do. How did you finally come to the point (or did you) of saying, "Not what I want, but what you want?"

  • The prophet Joel describes God’s final judgement of the nations as taking place in the same area (Kidron or the Valley of Jehoshaphat) where Jesus journeyed on his way to Gethsemane and ultimately to the cross. What insights does that connection give you as you consider Jesus’ agonizing over his mission in Gethsemane?

Joel 2:28-3:12

God’s Spirit Poured Out

  • Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

  • I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.

  • For then, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations. They have divided my land, 3 and cast lots for my people, and traded boys for prostitutes, and sold girls for wine, and drunk it down.

  • What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads swiftly and speedily. 5 For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. 6 You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border. 7 But now I will rouse them to leave the places to which you have sold them, and I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads. 8 I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away; for the Lord has spoken.

Judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat

  • Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare war, stir up the warriors. Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up. 10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weakling say, “I am a warrior.”

  • Come quickly, all you nations all around gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O Lord. Let the nations rouse themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the neighboring nations.

Going back to Psalm 116 in our hymnal, remember that this is one of the psalms traditionally sung after the Passover meal. Imagine Jesus singing the psalm and coming to verse 13: “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” What do you think Jesus understood this to mean for him?

  • What connections do you see between Jesus’ three temptations in the wilderness and his three prayers at Gethsemane?

Luke 4:1-13

The Temptation of Jesus

  • Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

  1. Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And the devil,said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

  1. Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ 11 and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

  2. Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

What insight about Jesus’ Gethsemane experience does the writer of Hebrews want believers to understand?

Hebrews 5:7-9

7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9 and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,

Wrapping Up

Look at the photo of Paul Gaugin’s “Agony in the Garden”. Famous for his studies of Tahitian life where he employed bright colors to depict the primitive nature of their environment.

Notice how he has employed dark greens and blues for the background of trees and shrubbery and two black figures behind the praying Jesus whose hair is bright orange. The bright color draws the viewer to his face. Looking at the face, hands, and the bare tree behind him.

  • What emotion do you think the artist is portraying to the viewer?

  • What could be the paper be that Jesus is holding?

  • What purpose does the bare tree serve?

  • How does Gaugin’s image of the Gethsemane story compare with your own?

Wrap up and Closing Prayer: Next Week: Session 3: Condemned by the Righteous


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