TEXT: Matthew 26:43-54
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.
51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.
52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 151 messages in this series.
This is message #152 titled, A Time to Pray, and A Time to Do
In this message, we return to the Garden of Gethsemane on the night that Jesus was betrayed. Jesus has finished his prayer, he has awakened his disciples, and his betrayer has arrived in the Garden. As you will recall, during the three times Jesus left his disciples to wrestle in prayer over the coming agony of the cross, He submitted himself to God’s will and he received strength from an angel who was sent to minister to him.
After this prayer session in Gethsemane, we do not read of Jesus Christ praying to His Father again until he is hanging on the cross when he asks God to forgive those who are crucifying Him, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Shortly thereafter, he cries out as he realizes that he is being separated from God and forsaken by God because He has taken on himself the sins of the world.
Between the time in the Garden and the time on the cross, however, a whole lot happened that would have had any one of us in constant prayer. In the space of a few hours, Jesus was put on trial four times; he was mocked, beaten, scourged, spit on, stripped, made to carry a heavy cross, and finally nailed to the cross itself. The Bible does not mention Jesus praying at any time during these events.
Is it possible that, since Jesus had confirmed what God wanted him to do through prayer and had received the strength to do it, he saw no need to pray further? Instead, he saw it as a time to act, a time to do — to fulfill the purpose for which he had come into the world. Is not the purpose of prayer to cause action — action on God’s part, on our part, or both? David D’louhy said, “One of the most powerful actions in the universe is prayer. Therefore, true prayer must produce and cause action… We must not be satisfied with our prayer meetings unless there is a sending that happens once we’ve been with Jesus. Too many times we continually ask God to do what He has already commissioned us to do. Our prayer meetings become huddles that never require movement from us. Many times God responds to our prayers by equipping and empowering us to be the very answers to our prayers.”
We do not want to be Christians who use prayer as an excuse for lack of action. If God has given you an answer or a direction regarding something you have been praying about, don’t sit on it. Get up and act on it like Jesus did. We see a semblance of this attitude of moving from prayer to action in two of Jesus’ reactions to his disciples.
In verses 45-46, we read: “Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.” When Jesus returns from his third time of prayer, he finds the disciples still sleeping. This time, he doesn’t admonish them to watch and pray with him. Rather, he tells them to go on sleeping and get their rest. Jesus is evidently no longer concerned that they didn’t stay awake and pray with him. At this point, he doesn’t need their help to pray. He prayed through alone and received an answer from God and the strength he needed to carry out his task.
Not only is Jesus prepared for what comes next, but it is almost as if he is eager for it. He tells his disciples, “Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.” Jesus does not try to delay the inevitable by waiting until the last possible moment for the arrest to take place. When the group of Temple guards and soldiers arrives, Jesus is waiting for them.
As we continue reading this account, we see Jesus’ resolve even further. “Behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” Not only does Jesus reject the opportunity Peter created for some kind of skirmish which he could have easily used to his advantage as an opportunity to escape capture, but he also reveals that he has an army — twelve legions of angelic warriors — at his command, and all he has to do is ‘pray to his Father’ and they would come to his aid. Charles Ellicott wrote, “There is a strange and suggestive blending of the possible and the impossible in these words. Could He have brought Himself to utter that prayer, it would have been answered. But He could not so pray unless He knew it to be in harmony with His Father’s will, and He had been taught, in that hour of agony, that it was not in harmony, and therefore He would not utter it.”
Jesus delivers his final rationale for embracing his betrayer and walking into the arms of his captors as a question: “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” Jesus says, if I don’t do this, how will the will of God be accomplished? How will the world be saved? He does not use prayer as an excuse to delay action. He does not use prayer as an escape to get out of doing. Once he has prayed and confirmed his Father’s will, he willingly acts.
Let’s bring this matter down to our lives today. We don’t have to save humanity from sin and the punishment of sin. Thank God, Jesus did that. But there are many areas of our lives in which we should not succumb to the temptation to pray without doing. We cannot “pray the weight away”; we must also exercise and eat right. We cannot pray for healing, and not seek out remedies and medicine. We cannot pray for financial blessing and not begin managing the money that we do have correctly by tithing faithfully, spending wisely, and working hard. We cannot pray for stronger marriages and still refuse to say more than two words to each other each day. We cannot pray for blessings and refuse to be obedient.
We must be people of prayer and doing. Jose Zayas said, “Action without prayer is arrogance, prayer without action is hypocrisy.” Prayer empowers us to act. If we really believe that God answers prayer, then we must begin acting as though he is answering our prayers.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.