Relentlessly Jesus Goes Through Defeat to Victory
The Story of The Crucifixion of Jesus
(The Subplot – Peter’s Denial)
Matthew 26-27 (26:31-46)
SLIDE Scene 2 Act 1 The Subplot – Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
Setting … and they went out to the Mount of Olives. On the way . . .
31 On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to
Galilee and meet you there.” 33 Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” 34 Jesus
replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even
know me.” 35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples
vowed the same.
1) The disciples were going to be “tripped up” by Jesus’ arrest. Has some event or person “tripped you up”? How
did you recover from it?
Middle of Ninth grade – moved to North Carolina – challenging – made the best of it – recovered by deciding I would not
be scared of girls. LOL
2) V31-32 What do you think was going through the disciples’ minds with all of the Jesus gave them about what was
about to happen?
How does anyone prepare for an upcoming traumatic event? When you know it’s coming. Example – in war, hearing
the bombs getting closer and closer. Vietnam – people would literally freeze up when they heard our jets coming.
3) V33-35 Peter and the disciples thought their faith was strong to the point that they would die with or for Jesus if
called to do so. How strong do you think your faith is?
That wasn’t fair, was it? What a hard question! But our faith will be tested. Bad things, unfair things will happen happen
to us. Some small. Some big. We need to really prayerfully consider this. And ask God for strength. We will cover this
faith discussion later in more detail.
Today let’s focus on what Jesus experienced.
SLIDE Scene 2 Act 2 – Jesus Prays in the Garden of Gethsemane
Gethsemane – at the base of the Mount of Olives – the word means oil
36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane,
and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter
and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and
distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point
of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 He went on a little
farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it
is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want
your will to be done, not mine.” 40 Then he returned to the disciples
and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that
you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” 42 Then Jesus left them a second time
and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to
them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. 44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the
same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time
has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
4) The incident of the three disciples falling asleep twice is included in this story. Why do you think it is?
One last reminder of to us of our weakness. At this very traumatic moment His friends let Him down.
**BUT we know the rest of the story – the great faith these guys had after they saw Jesus raised from the dead. And had
received the Holy Spirit.
5) V36-46 List the things Jesus did.
He got alone to pray. He asked some to be nearby and watch. He became anguished and distressed. He told His friends
what he was feeling. Bowed to the ground and prayed. He asked God if there could be another way. Then He
immediately said God’s will, not His. (He committed right then) Found disciples sleeping and asked them again to watch.
And pray. So, they would give in to temptation. Acknowledged they were willing but physically weak. Prayed again
saying He would go through with what was ahead. Found the three sleeping again. Prayed and committed again. Told the
three to rest. But then . . . . Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!
6) What did Jesus do to work through this traumatic event?
Short answer: He had been preparing himself for it (and tried to prepare the disciples.) He gathered friends around him.
He prayed – a lot. He trusted God.
So, is it that easy? Prepare if you know what’s coming, keep friends close, pray and trust God. Lists make things sound
like do this and this and this and it will be OK. Each of these actions require wholeheartedness, time, asking for God’s
blessing on our efforts. Let’s dig into this.
What is trauma? (I’m not a trained counselor or psychologist but I think we can discuss this carefully.)
A deeply distressing or disturbing experience or circumstance and the emotional response (such as shock, denial,
unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, etc.)
Raise your hand if you’ve been through a traumatic event.
Was this a traumatic event for Jesus?
…and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.
This was traumatic for Jesus in His humanness. He knew he was going to suffer, die AND spend a period of time
separated from God the Father, who he had been in close relationship for ALL of eternity past.
And by the way – he did this for you and for me.
What can we do for others who have suffered trauma? How can do a better job than the disciples did?
1) Our “posture” toward those who have gone through trauma matters. Actually, our “posture” toward others
Empathy, Empathy, Empathy. The ministry of presence – be there, listen.
Something led to this situation. It was a product of the context, the world the person lived in. Which is different than
mine. This is part of discipleship – it’s more than information transfer. (We’re not trained counselors.)
2) Provide a family/belonging relationship.
Jesus wanted the guys he’d spent the last three years with to be right there with him – awake.
We are born to see our face reflected in the face of another – connection – empathy – discipleship. As we grow and
mature, we want to see those close to us grow and mature. Apostle Paul – imitate me. That’s connection, that provides
strength to make it through hard time.
Posture of caring. Relationship of real connection and discipleship. Jesus is our example. Here’s how Max Lucado says
Jesus steps into the garden, and invites Peter, James and John to come. He tells them his soul is “overwhelmed with
sorrow to the point of death,” and begins to pray.
Never has he felt so alone. What has to be done only he can do. An angel can’t do it. No angel has the power to open
hell’s gates. A man can’t do it. No man has the purity to destroy sin’ claim. No force on earth can face the force of evil
and win – except God.
“The spirit is will but the flesh is weak,” Jesus confesses.
His humanity begged to be delivered from what his divinity could. Jesus, the carpenter, implores. Jesus, the man,
peers into the dark pit and begs, Can’t there be another way?”
Did he know the answer before he asked the question? Did his human heart hope his heavenly father had found another
way? We don’t know. But we do know he asked to get out. We do know he begged for an exit. We do know there was a
time when if he could have, he would have turned his back on the whole mess and gone away.
But he couldn’t.
He couldn’t because he saw you. Right there in the middle of a world which isn’t fair. He saw you cast into a river of
life you didn’t request. He saw you betrayed by those you love. He saw you with a body that gets sick and a heart that
He saw you in your own garden of gnarled trees and sleeping friends. He saw you staring into the pit of your own
failures and the mouth of your own grave.
He saw you in your own Garden of Gethsemane – and he didn’t want you to be alone.
He wanted you to know that he’s been there, too. He knows what it’s like to be plotted against. He knows what it’s
like to be confused. He knows what it’s like to be torn between two desires. He knows what it’s like to smell the stench of
Satan. And, perhaps most of all, he knows what it’s like to beg God to change his mind and to hear God say so gently, but
For that is what God said to Jesus. And Jesus accepts the answer. At some moment during that midnight hour an angel
comes over the weary body of the man in the garden. As he stands, the anguish is gone from his eyes. His fist will clench
no more. His heart will fight no more.
The battle is won. You may have thought it was on Golgotha. It wasn’t. You may have thought the sign of victory
was he empty tomb. It isn’t. The final battle was won in Gethsemane. And the sign of conquest is Jesus at peace in the
olive trees. For it was in the garden that he made his decision. He would rather go to hell for you than to heaven without