John Chambers - Sunday Morning - Biddestion, Australia Convention - 2016

Matthew 26:36-39, “Then cometh Jesus with them until a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, 'Set ye here, while I go and pray yonder.' And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful even unto death; tarry ye here, and watch with Me.' And He went a little further and fell on His face and prayed, saying, 'O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.'” We know that He went a second time and Jesus prayed the same prayer. I have been sitting here listening to things that are precious, and I have been reading this chapter and we could believe that some prayers are more precious to God than others. I do believe we cannot try to put a value on those words that Jesus uttered and what they cost Him.

We read lower on in the chapter about the time that Peter drew the sword to defend Jesus, and the answer is in the verse 53, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father and He shall presently give Me more than 12 legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it might be?” Those words have really spoken to me. When Jesus spoke to Peter, He said, "Don’t you realise that if I needed someone to defend Me, I could ask My Father and He would presently give Me more than 12 legions of angels." When Peter tried to defend Jesus, Jesus just told him, "I have all the power of Heaven on My side to defend Me." Jesus said, "All I have to do is ask." Then Jesus added, "How would the Scriptures be fulfilled?" They were the words that really caused Jesus to pray in such desperation and Jesus knew He had to die for the Scriptures to be fulfilled.

I sometimes fear that we can hear about Jesus in the garden, and Jesus on the cross and all that Jesus suffered again and again and I fear lest we could get familiar with this. And we know that Jesus said He could have called 12 legions of angels and that His Father would send them, but here His Father was trusting Him that He was going to fulfill the scriptures. That Jesus was going to fill the plan that was made right from the foundation of the world and Jesus knew, "Unless I receive help in prayer, there is absolutely no way I can fulfill the plan of God."

We sing, "In the garden lies defeat or victory." I feel we can become familiar with these words and maybe we may not realise there are people in our generation and in previous generations and they have gone through experiences and can understand this in a greater measure. Jesus knew the plan and Jesus told the disciples in a previous chapter that there would be one that would betray Him and then He would be crucified. Earlier on in the chapter before He went into the garden to pray and He called His disciples and said, “You know.” That was not the first time He told them that. Through the gospels on quite a few occasions, He told His disciples, "We are going to Jerusalem and the Son of Man is going to be betrayed and rejected and will be crucified and rise again on the third day." Now He said, "You know," and it was only two days away. It appears to me even though He told His disciples, "You know," it seems they could not really understand it. And there are many things we have heard and heard repeatedly and people could say, "You know that is how it is going to be and how God has a plan." Just having a knowledge about some things is often not enough.

We read that Jesus chose those three man to go with Him a little further in prayer and I just wondered if those men were with Jesus on a number of times when Jesus was praying. Those three man seemed to have had a place of great privilege and a lot of people in the world would talk about Peter’s failures, but not so much about the failures on the part of James and John. And at one time Jesus called those two sons of Zebedee the sons of thunder. Could you try and imagine someone that you know personally and they would call you a son of thunder? You could think it was someone that was quite loud or unruly, but that is what Jesus called these two men.

We read about Jesus sending these two messengers to a village to make ready for Him and they did not receive Him. Then James and John asked Jesus, "Will you allow that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" It is not that I want to speak about the negatives or the weaknesses of these men. The thing that is wonderful to me is we can read in the Bible about people and their flaws. The part that is lovely, when we see Jesus and when He was in great distress and He said, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful even unto death," and yet He craved the company of those three men. Men we can probably identify with because of our own human nature, you know each one of them in their own way had a human nature that is like our own human nature. Yet because of understanding who Jesus was and understanding what Jesus was willing to do for them and having an appreciation in their hearts for Jesus and even though they didn’t understand the full picture. There was a love and appreciation for Jesus, and so when Jesus was going through this really difficult time, something in Him craved that these men would be with Him in this experience.

To me, it gives me great hope and each one of us know how our own human nature is and sometimes we remember certain situations in our past and we feel a little bit ashamed. But it is lovely if we allow God’s spirit to work with in us and not get offended with what God’s servants say and we read about the occasion when those two men wanted to call down fire. Jesus' reply was, “Ye know not what manner of spirit you are of.” They didn’t get offended and didn’t say, "We are not going to continue anymore because you spoke to us so harshly." They could have said, "You misunderstood us and it is because of the care we have for you we want those people to be punished." Jesus spoke to them and they did not get upset, and because of that mark of being willing to be taught and accept correction, they were very close to Jesus, and again they were very close to Jesus in the time that Jesus was praying in desperation. Jesus spoke to those three and told them, "You are they who have continued with Me in My tribulation." Jesus really appreciated that.

Sometimes we make mistakes and we have to be spoken to harshly and then we realise it is because He wants us to continue with Him. That is why I believe those men were closer than the others, because of their ability to accept correction. It could be because Jesus called those two men sons of thunder that they may had been outspoken at some times and Peter may have been like that, also. Sometimes, we can think we will not say anything, and inside, we can be quite unacceptable of things. Just because people open their mouth and say something, we may think they are worse than we are, and quite often we may not say anything outwardly and if we are upset in our spirit and it may take longer for us to get over the problem than those that speak out.

I was thinking that Jesus knew that was God’s plan and He knew that He was going to be betrayed. He was very aware, "If I do not pray, I will not be able to fulfill this." When Peter drew out his sword, Jesus knew that if He was going to allow Peter to protect Him, how would this plan of God be fulfilled? There are times when we find ourselves in the experiences that are too great for us, experiences that we wish we could run 1000 mile. It is good if the spirit of God can be in us and really we would like God to change the situation. All of us have been in that situation or experience that is too great for us and we must ask God for help. Quite often, if we do not pray much more than help, God would get us through the situation easier.

Every time Jesus prayed, He finished up by saying, "Not My will." It is wonderful when the Spirit of Christ can intervene. I do not know if it is even right to say one prayer is more precious than another. If God can hear prayers from our lips like a echo of the spirit of Christ would want to say and that prayer would be very precious to God. There is nothing more that Jesus wants from us that we would fulfill the will of God.

In chapter 26, we read about Jesus sending two disciples to a home so there could be a Passover. Jesus told them how they would recognise the man that would have the prepared home and the man that would lead them to that home. The disciples went and found everything exactly as Jesus had said and we read about Jesus in that home that He started something new and we read about Jesus for the very first time taking bread and saying, "This is My body and do this in remembrance of Me." Also, when He took the cup and passed it around, "This do ye in remembrance of Me." Jesus wanted to show His disciples something new that was going to be a memorial for Him. We can read about the time that was spent in the home and what was spoken in that home and then He went out into the Mount of Olives.

In that home, we read about Jesus and His disciples together and He gave them a very clear picture of the spirit that was guiding them in that home. The disciples were very much subdued. Sometimes when we think about that question that Jesus said, "How will the Scriptures be fulfilled?" We tell people about our faith and how we gather on a Sunday morning meeting and we know that is how it should be. And I sometimes wonder, "Yes, it can be possible that the Scriptures will be fulfilled." We heard yesterday about marriage and the husband and wife working together like oxen in a yoke. We know that Jesus chose a man’s home and it is written in the Bible that certain conditions have to be right so people can have a Sunday morning meeting. Those words went over and over in my mind this morning, "How shall the Scriptures be fulfilled?" There are times in a home or a family where something comes up and we may feel it is very costly to keep a certain course and it is good to remember if you are at the crossroads and you stop and consider in order so the scripture can be fulfilled. God needs sanctified homes, where people are willing to keep the influence and the ideas of this world out so it can be a pure home. The only thing that has the final say in the home is the spirit of Christ.

We read of Jesus saying, "I have desired to keep the Passover." The Spirit of Christ has no greater desire than to find a home where He can be totally free and He can speak of things that are very costly and precious and also a sacrifice. As workers, we may be a little guilty of speaking about the sacrifice of workers and then we realise we need people to keep faithful in a home and a home with no strife or anything that would hinder the Spirit of Christ and it can only happen when people are willing to sacrifice and have their will broken. Our human nature rises up and we can think in this situation, "I am right and I’m going to force my way of the truth," and all we do is force God’s spirit outside.

We had a rather unfortunate situation in our family many years ago and a brother got upset about an inheritance. There was a certain decision made and someone was speaking to his cousin saying, "He got his justice," and our cousin said, "Yes, but I lost my brother," and that was very sad and it is still very, very sad. Our human idea of what is just and fair can be a tragedy.

When Jesus was there in the garden, and He knew, "I cannot let My human heart come into this and if I do, the scripture will not be fulfilled." There was Jesus praying all alone and sometimes people think He would have had superpower and got His way through this. It says, "His sweat was like great drops of blood," and Jesus said, "His soul was exceedingly sorrowful."

Sometimes I look at those emblems and I think that some things I had to go through were unfair and unjust and should I really have to put up with that and do I have to be willing for that, then I would start looking at Jesus and how He prayed and then I feel so condemned. I just feel I need to pray with the same kind of spirit as He prayed. Then something comes up and I pray to My Father, "Help me to be willing to give anything to keep the peace and to have my will broken so there can be peace." Jesus said, "How can the scripture be fulfilled?" It would be a terrible day if it would happen that there would become less and less homes to be able to have a Sunday morning meeting.

I am very glad for this chapter where Jesus sent those two disciples to that man and he had no hesitation to have everything sorted. Jesus did not go there in the beginning, but He sent two disciples to the home and we don’t know how old they were and then they found that home was so in order and Jesus was able to come and sit down there with His disciples. I was thinking of the workers and when Jesus was on the earth and looked at the multitude and He said, "Pray ye that the Lord of the harvest would raise up labourers." We know that according to the scripture and it was when He was sending out His disciples and He said, "I am with you to the end of the world."

It is good to ask ourselves, "How will the scripture be fulfilled?" Jesus in His lifetime many, many times we read and He took a certain course of action and then he would say that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. We need to be of the same mind and parents and young people realise besides the matter of having a sanctified home, we need never to forget to pray that Jesus would continue to rise up young lives. If we want God’s way to continue on in the earth and for the Scriptures to be fulfilled and people who are looking for God’s way in the world and they would be able to find it, we all can have a part in that and I am very thankful for the little part that had been given to me in doing this. Amen