What is the most important scripture for understanding your faith that you have read?
For me, the short time Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane was an actual window into who Jesus is and how he lived out of His identity. This is a real example of living out who we are through our identity. By reading and understanding this part of the Gospels, we can be better equipped to live an authentic Christian life.
Jesus had had quite a few hectic days leading up to this event. He knew the religious leaders secretly plotted to arrest and kill Jesus but were waiting for the most suitable time. He was anointed by a woman for his burial with expensive oil, travelled to Jerusalem and spent the evening with his disciples celebrating the Passover. After sharing communion, Jesus took them to the Mount of Olives and let Peter know he would betray Jesus. He then took them to an orchard called "The Oil Press" and asked them to sit near him while he prayed. In John 17:1-5 we read"
1 This is what Jesus prayed as he looked up into heaven,
"Father, the time has come.
Unveil the glorious splendor of your Son
so that I will magnify your glory!
2You have already given me authority
over all people so that I may give
the gift of eternal life to all those that you have given to me.
3Eternal life means to know and experience you
as the only true God,
and to know and experience Jesus Christ,
as the Son whom you have sent.
4I have glorified you on the earth
by faithfully doing everything you've told me to do.
5So my Father, restore me back to the glory
that we shared together when we were face-to-face
before the universe was created."
In this prayer, we can clearly read that Jesus knew His identity and purpose and understood what His Father called Him to do. As we read His prayers and struggle in the garden, we can see that even when we understand this, dying to our flesh and doing what God calls us to do is sometimes very difficult.
For the context of this blog, I will not go through all the prayers prayed by Jesus at this time. He prays for all believers and His disciples. Click HERE to read what Jesus prays.
Jesus took the disciples into the garden:
33 He took Peter, Jacob, and John with him. An intense feeling of great horror plunged his soul into deep sorrow. 34 And he said to them, "My heart is overwhelmed with anguish and crushed with grief. It feels as though I'm dying. Stay here and keep watch with me." John 17:33-34 tpt
Jesus then walked a short distance away and prayed with great anguish:
35 He walked a short distance away and being overcome with grief, he threw himself facedown on the ground. He prayed that if possible, he would not have to experience this hour of suffering. 36 He prayed, "Abba, my Father, all things are possible for you. Please—remove this cup of suffering! Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me."
It is important to note that Jesus did not blindly walk into what would come next. He knew His identity, as you can read in his initial prayer. The challenge is that our flesh can quickly get in the way and stop us from spiritually moving forward. We are called to come to our Heavenly Father, just as Jesus did, and wrestle with what our flesh wants and what God calls us to do. Doing this is often lonely, and we may need to be understood by those around us. Jesus prayed three times. One account shows how he sweated blood and how an angel came to minister to him. Jesus was in agony.
43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:43-44
After praying three times, Jesus went back to His disciples:
41 After praying for the third time, he returned to his disciples and awoke them again, saying, "Do you plan on sleeping and resting indefinitely? That's enough sleep! The end has come and the hour has arrived for the Son of Man to be handed over to the authority of sinful men.42 Get up and let's go. Don't you see? My betrayer draws near." Mark 14:41-41 TPT
From Jesus' prayer, we can learn the following:
Living authentically as a Christian starts with deeply understanding our identity.
We often are not understood by those around us. We listen to our Heavenly Father and follow what He calls us to do.
There is an intense battle between our flesh(soul) and spirit. We can only identify this and defeat the pull of our flesh by coming to God in prayer.
After we understand our identity and have clearly heard what God has called us to do, we can confidently walk into any situation or battle with peace, confidence and authority.
Dying to our flesh is painful, but we can live an authentic, purposeful, and powerful life when we live in a deep relationship with God and live out what He calls us to do and not what our flesh is pulling us to do. By following what God calls us to do, we will somehow bring restoration to the earth. We can look forward to the earth's corruption being changed as God's mature sons and daughters bring liberty to creation!
This is what changing kingdoms is all about!
21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Romans 8:21