Prayer in Temptation

Janet Aucoin July 2, 2021

Joyful Journey welcomes co-host Alexandra Nitzschke back to the podcast! Janet Aucoin and Alexandra will discuss the story of Gethsemane from Matthew 26 and the stark difference between Jesus and His disciples as they respond to temptation. Their story helps guide our thoughts about how we react when temptation comes our way: Desperate prayer is a powerful tool the Lord uses to help us overcome the powerful pull of sin on our hearts. Main Passage: Matthew 26

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Valley of Vision


Prayer Mate


Hope in the Midst of Temptation: Scripture - Alexandra Nitzschke

Hope in the Midst of Temptation: Prayer - Alexandra Nitzschke

Hope in the Midst of Temptation: Confession - Alexandra Nitzschke


Desiring God Sermons - John Piper’s

Grace to You Sermons - John MacArthur’s

Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.
Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that
the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.
Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.
Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of
my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to
inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as
women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either
Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of
Janet: Welcome back. As I mentioned on the last episode, Jocelyn is now planting her garden and
is headed for a different season for the next six months. And Alexandra is here with us. So hello,
Alexandra: Hi guys.
Janet: I am excited to hear from you today. I know that this is a topic that I heard you speak on
for our women, and I thought the people listening to this podcast need to hear this too. So I am so

excited that Alexandra is going to talk to us about how we can fight temptation the way Christ
did, using prayer, which is a tool that I know is powerful. But I don't always behave as if I know
it's powerful. So I'm excited to hear from you. let's dig in and start sharing with us, Alexandra.
Alexandra: Thanks, Janet. In this episode, we're going to be discussing how our prayer life
affects our response to the temptation to sin. Specifically, we're going to look at an event that
happened in the Bible and compare how two different men viewed the power of prayer, and how
that consequently affected each of them when they both faced temptation. These two men are
Jesus and Peter. As we go through this episode, I want us to observe Jesus, but empathize with
Peter. Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane has been one of my favorite passages to study in the
gospels. If you're not familiar with that term, the books of the Bible called the gospels are the
first four books of the New Testament. And they are historically accurate recordings of
eyewitness accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. That is a mouthful.
Janet: But well said. Yes. And I love that because I think sometimes we just go past the gospels.
And if I really want to get to know Jesus, let's just see what He was like. And we see so much
about Him in this specific passage.
Alexandra: Absolutely. So we're going to walk through an exposition of Matthew 26 verses 30
through 56. Janet, would you read that for us?
Janet: Absolutely. Okay. "Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives." So this
is the night before the crucifixion, just after the last supper, or the beginning of the Lord's table.
However you want to call that. "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.
But after I've been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.'
Peter declared, 'even if everyone else deserts You, I will never desert You.' 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.' 'No,' Peter insisted. 'Even if I have to die with You, I will never deny You.' And
all the other disciples vowed the same. Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called
Gethsemane. And He said, 'sit here while I go over there to pray.' He took Peter and Zebedee's
two sons, James and John, and He became anguished and distressed. He told them 'My soul is
crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.' He went on a little
farther and bowed His face to the ground, praying, 'My Father, if it's possible, let this cup of
suffering be taken away from Me. Yet, I want Your will to be done, not Mine.' Then He returned
to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, 'couldn't you watch with Me even one
hour? Watch and pray so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the
body is weak.' 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.' When He returned to them again, He found them
sleeping. For they couldn't keep their eyes open. So He went to pray a third time saying the same
things again. 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. Up. Let us be
going. Look, My betrayer is here.' And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the 12 disciples,
arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They'd been sent by the leading
priests and elders of the people. The traitor, Judas, had given them a pre-arranged signal. 'You
will know which one to arrest when I greet Him with a kiss.' So Judas came straight to Jesus.
'Greetings, rabbi,' he exclaimed, and gave Him the kiss. Jesus said, 'My friend, go ahead and do
what you've come for.' Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested Him. But one of the men with
Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest's slave, slashing off his ear. 'Put away your
sword,' Jesus told him. 'Those who use the sword, will die by the sword. Don't you realize that I
could ask My Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and He would send them instantly.
But if I did, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?' Then
Jesus said to the crowd, 'am I some dangerous revolutionary that you come with swords and
clubs to arrest Me? Why didn't you arrest Me in the temple? I was there teaching every day. But
this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the scriptures.' At that
point, all the disciples deserted Him and fled.”
Alexandra: Excellent. Thank you, Janet. So we're just going to walk through this passage verse
by verse, starting with verse 30. "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount
of Olives." So just to give you a timeline, this was midnight on Thursday night in the last week
of Jesus's life. Jesus had just finished the Passover meal with the twelve disciples. After the meal
Judas had left to betray Jesus into the hands of the religious rulers, who wanted to kill Jesus. So
here in verse 30, Jesus is with the 11 remaining disciples. I just like to give a little background on
the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives was right outside the city of Jerusalem. On the Mount
of Olives there were gardens owned by wealthy families. Within the walls of the city, there was
no room for people to have private gardens next to their houses. Jesus and his disciples were
heading to a specific garden. The garden of Gethsemane. We don't know who owned the garden
of Gethsemane, but it was most likely a follower of Jesus who allowed him to use it at his
discretion. The word Gethsemane means oil press. When you harvest olives from olive trees, you
press olive to reveal the oil. Jesus was heading to a place called oil press. Jesus was about to be
crushed. And that crushing would reveal what Jesus valued most, shalom with the Father. Right
before this scene, Jesus had just observed Passover with the 12 disciples. Earlier in the chapter in
verses 20 through 24, we see that at the end of the Passover meal, Jesus confronted Judas, that
He knew he was going to betray Him. Immediately following this Judas goes to the Pharisees,
and Jesus goes to the garden of Gethsemane. So they split ways. This is a significant detail that I
do not want y'all to miss. And here's why it's significant. We see in Luke 21: 37, and the end of
John seven verse 53 into chapter eight, verse one and other places in the gospel that Gethsemane
was a home to Jesus. This was a place where Jesus came to pray alone and to escape the crowds.
John 18: 2 says that Jesus also often came here with His disciples Gethsemane was the place
where Jesus would give private teaching, exclusive to His disciples, and where He enjoyed
private fellowship with them. And Judas knew that. Jesus knew that this would be the first place
Judas would look for him that night.

Janet: Wow. To go to the place where Jesus found refuge and comfort.
Alexandra: It's an ultimate betrayal. So Jesus came to the garden of Gethsemane that night,
knowing that this is where He would enter His greatest sorrow, the greatest trial of His life. He
was being prepared to die here. This is the path to the cross and He chose to pray. Verse 31, "then
Jesus said to them, you will all fall away from Me, because of Me this night. For it is written, I
will strike the Shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered." So Jesus tells them upfront
and very plainly at the beginning of this chapter, that he's going to be crucified. And here He
adds that they're going to face temptation. And not only that, Jesus tells them that they're going
to fail when this temptation hits. They are going to run. The disciples here are at a crisis point.
And Matthew 20: 17 through 19. And again, at 26, verse two, we read that Jesus had informed
the disciples that the chief priests and scribes were going to condemn Him to death, and that He
was going to be tortured and crucified. So they had every reason to know what was coming.
Janet: And what's crazy is they seem to not still know.
Alexandra: Yeah. So verses 33 through 35. " Peter answered Him, 'though they all fall away
because of You, I will never fall away.' And Jesus said to Peter, 'truly, I tell you this very night
before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times' and Peter said to Him, 'even if I must die
with You, I will not deny You.' And all the disciples said the same." So even though Jesus is
speaking to the 11 disciples, notice how scripture specifically singles out Peter. So remember
we're observing Jesus and empathizing with Peter here. And I want us to put ourselves in Peter's
shoes as we walk through these verses. Along with the other disciples, Peter is showing a lot of
self-confidence here and can't we relate to that. In the times where we are not feasting on the
word of God during the week, or dedicating a part of our day to precious time in prayer with the
Lord. If we aren't doing that, the reason why is because we don't think we need to. We think it's
not necessary to survive and thrive that day. So Jesus warns Peter, Peter, you're about to trip up
real bad. But instead of heeding this warning, Peter is defensive. Peter had great intentions, but
that is where he put his confidence: in his good intentions. The problem is that his
self-confidence blinded him to his own weakness. But honestly, I can relate to that. Can't you
Janet: Oh my heavens. Yes. As you're reading that, I'm thinking, number one. Thank you, God,
that you're a forgiving God. Because, and I was just talking with you about the fact that it's been
a rough week. And I've known for a long time, my prayer life needs to grow. And yet my good
intentions are, I can just plan. I can handle that. I know what I need to do. I know the biblical
principles, I will do this and God and his grace is allowing me in a position where my confidence
is shaken and I'm finding I'm praying more. And I think, wow, I thank you, God to realize I am
relying on my confidence, even in my knowledge of scripture and what to do, instead of running
to the One who's help I need. So , I totally can relate to Peter.

Alexandra: Yeah, me too. And how kind of God to use any circumstance to continue to mold us
into the character of Christ.
Janet: Yes. Absolutely.
Alexandra: How kind of Him. All right. Let's keep going, guys. So the reference in this verse, 34
to the rooster crowing, the rooster would begin crowing around 3:00 AM. Although Peter insists
that he will never deny Christ. He is only a few hours away from fulfilling this prophecy three
times over. And all the disciples agreed with Peter. So at this point in the parallel account of this
in Luke 22, Jesus says He is already interceding for Peter. "He says, 'I have prayed for you that
your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.'" This was a
specific promise for Peter alone. But this same Jesus is interceding for us today. And we can see
that in Romans 8: 34, that right now Christ is at the right hand of God, interceding for us. And
sometimes when we are alone is when a temptation seems impossible to overcome. It feels the
strongest when we are isolated. But what great hope that we are never alone in our temptations.
And that Christ is praying for us to have the strength to endure, even in those moments.
Janet: And I love just the heart of Christ, which helps me to want to run back to Him. When I
see Peter hasn't repented yet, and Christ is already saying I've already been interceding for you.
Because I know you're about to fail and that's My heart toward you. And that's a savior I want to
run to.
Alexandra: Yeah. Yeah, me too. So let's compare how Peter responds to facing his own humanity,
to how Christ did. In Matthew 26, so far we have seen, and we will continue to see, pride in
Peter. Although Jesus was fully God, He was also fully human. He got hungry, He got tired. He
cried. These are considered weaknesses and humanity.
Janet: I appreciate differentiating weakness from sinfulness. We certainly know that Jesus was
sinless, but sometimes we act like weak and sin are related. We all have weaknesses just inherent
in being human. And Jesus had all of those, but he was not sinful. And here we get to see what
living in the reality of our human weakness would look like when it's not mixed with sin. What a
beautiful thing to see.
Alexandra: Amen. So Jesus handled His weakness with a righteous humility. And ultimately
when we do the same, there is indescribable hope and it puts us on that path for joy. So verse 36,
"then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane and He said to His disciples, 'sit here
while I go over there and pray.'" So at this point, Jesus and the 11 disciples have approached the
garden of Gethsemane. This garden of ancient olive trees was probably fenced or walled in some
way to prevent invasion from other things that were on the mountain. Jesus sets up eight of the
disciples, right outside of the entrance of the garden. He wanted privacy having a group of eight
men would guard anyone from coming to disturb His time with the Father. The hour had come,
Jesus was in danger. He was preparing for the cross and we are going to study how He prepared

to best understand how we can fight temptation. Jesus told the eight disciples that were guarding
to keep watch. He knew what was about to happen. They should have gotten the point when He
said He was going to go pray, and they should have done the same. Verse 37, "and taking with
Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee." We know that's James and John. "He began to be
sorrowful and troubled." Peter is the only one specifically named. Matthew is highlighting Peter
as a significant detail. Peter, James, and John were significant leaders. These were the three
whom Jesus wanted to glean something from this experience and then teach it to the rest of the
disciples. How amazing even His darkest moments, Jesus is still discipling. How selfless.
Janet: That just blows my mind. When I think of all the things He could be doing right then, He
is still teaching and giving.
Alexandra: So powerful. Jesus began to be grieved and distressed. Luke, a doctor, explains that
Jesus' suffering here was so intense that he began to sweat blood. Some have argued that this was
because Jesus was anxious, which gives us permission to worry too, that this scene allows us to
have anxiety. And I will be the first person to tell you one of my biggest sin struggles is sinful
worry. Even as I was preparing for this, my first podcast episode, I needed to repent of my sinful
worry. So often I am struggling to trust God at His Word. I fall into despair because God's
character isn't being displayed in the way I think it should be displayed in my life. And I need to
repent of that. Despair is something that happens when we put our security in an idol and that
idol fails us, and this is much different than sorrow. Despair and anxiety happen when we are not
walking by the Spirit. Jesus did not have anxiety. I want everyone just to hear me loud right now.
He did not have anxiety here. He was not sinfully worrying. He was filled with sorrow and grief.
Janet: Yeah
Alexandra: He had many reasons to be sorrowful. He knew what was about to happen. Jesus was
about to be physically tortured. For the first time He was going to experience a separation from
the community of the Trinity. The father was going to turn His face away from the son. Jesus
was about to drink the cup of wrath. He was about to endure the betrayal of His disciple, Judas.
He was about to be denied by His beloved friend, Peter. He was going to experience the injustice
of sinful men. He was going to be rejected by the nation of Israel. He was going to bear the
weight of sin. Jesus was grieving.
Janet: And I think because when we grieve, we grieve and worry, or we grieve and have despair.
That I think sometimes we can equate those. And here we get to see what does grief just look
Alexandra: Yeah. And we're going to talk more about anxiety and how we can easily distort
situations like that, where we can have a good reason to be biblically concerned. So I'm excited
to talk with you guys about that. All right, verse 38, "then Jesus said to them, 'My soul is very
sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch with Me.'" So to Peter James and John, Jesus

shares with them how He is feeling. He is in deep grief. They needed to see His agony to best
understand His love.
Janet: Wow. That is so profound. Seeing the depth of which someone is willing to be
inconvenienced for me. The depth of which they're willing to suffer for me. That shows me their
love. It was important for them to see that. And I don't often think about it that way.
Alexandra: Jesus then urges them to do one thing. Keep watch. In Luke, it says that Jesus tells
them at this point "to pray that you may not enter into temptation." In other words, be vigilant
and start praying.
Janet: So, what does that even mean? People are going to go, okay, am I being vigilant? What
does that look like? What does that mean?
Alexandra: That's a really good question. So vigilance is being hyper alert to danger surrounding
you. It's the opposite of sleepiness. So when I think of vigilance, I think of one of my brothers
who is a medically retired recon Marine. Recon is a special forces operatives of the Marines. So
the job of a recon Marine is twofold. Let's say the military got wind of the location of a terrorist.
The reconnaissance team travels hundreds of miles behind enemy lines to confirm that position.
They observe details of who goes in, who goes out and confirms that this is a high value target.
After that, they leave. But then they get reinserted with lots of weaponries to essentially wipe out
the bad guys. So that's the job of a recon marine.
Janet: I'm thinking that you don't need to be lazy and sleepy in the middle of that.
Alexandra: Absolutely not. So in the recon school, my brother said that they have a phrase spray
painted all over the school grounds on the back of stop signs, et cetera. And that phrase is
"complacency kills." You cannot get complacent. And with the training that they go through, it is
so ingrained in their minds that it involves every aspect of a Marine's life: stay vigilant. So
driving or walking, the recon team has to take the path of most resistance because terrorists
would line the offbeaten paths with IEDs, which is short for improvised explosive device. These
are roadside bombs, vehicle bombs, et cetera. So they had to be on constant alert for danger. At
any moment, you could die or become an amputee. They would be on teams of six to seven men.
And oftentimes when they were on a mission, they would go for a week without sleeping. My
brother said that the hardest part of his job is not picking up 250 pounds and walking for miles,
it's fighting to stay awake. Stay vigilant. And so when I think of vigilance my mind immediately
goes to him and what he had to go through for his job. And vigilance in our walk with the Lord is
going to be more challenging in the moments when life is easy and things are going our way.
Staying awake spiritually. When we start to get spiritually sleepy is the big challenge. And the
way to vigilance against temptation is a commitment to prayer, especially in times of ease.
Janet: Yeah.

Alexandra: So Jesus wanted to teach these three leaders, Peter, James, and John, how to prepare
for temptation. Be vigilant. Danger is coming. Okay. Let's go to verse 39. "And going a little
farther, He fell on His face and prayed, saying 'My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from
me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.'" So this is Jesus' first of three prayers in the
garden of Gethsemane. He prays if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. So Jesus had just
taken Peter, James and John with him, and then he went a wee bit further alone. And like we've
already discussed, He had taken them so that they could watch Him, and learn how He faced a
trial. I don't know if you can relate to this Janet, but it is very hard for me to praise God in my
Janet: Yeah. I want to praise God when He alleviates it.
Alexandra: Right. Right. It's even harder to be vulnerable, to let people in to see your suffering
and to walk it with you. Because suffering is messy. It's not refined. But wow, what an
opportunity for us to shine the light of Christ in the darkness. So looking at verse 39 here, it says
that Jesus fell on His face. He might've started praying on His knees. We don't see that in
scripture, but the point here is that He laid Himself prostrate with his face on the ground. In a
later episode, we're going to cover even more on the topic of lament. But I want to point out here
that sorrow cannot separate us from God's love. God's love meets us within the sorrow when we
choose to lament. And that is what Jesus is doing here. Hebrews 5: 7 later describes the scene
that we are studying in the garden of Gethsemane and it says " Jesus offered prayers and
pleadings with a loud cry and tears to the One who could rescue Him from death. And God heard
his prayers because of His deep reverence for God." Jesus was crying loudly. God has space for
your suffering. God has space for your lament. Our Lord has both the capacity and the
compassion to take on your burdens and carry you through them because He has been through
deep suffering himself, and because he loves you.
Janet: And you know, in Hebrews 2 the word of God tells us that he suffered. We know it's for
many, many reasons, but in part it says so that he could relate to us. And that's unimaginable. I
have to learn to respond to suffering, but I can't imagine choosing horrific suffering just to be
able to relate to other people. So what's worse than that is that when I don't believe that, I turn
from Him instead of to Him in my pain.
Alexandra: In verse 39, Jesus calls God, "My Father." He's holding onto intimacy here and we
see this repeated throughout His path to the cross. Jesus is refusing to allow the sorrow He is
experiencing to break the communion He knows He has with the Father. He will not release the
truth of the Father's love or purpose for His life. And this verse He is praying, if it is possible to
do this any other way, I want that. But if it's not possible, Let Your will be done. He is not asking
if God is powerful enough to change this. He's asking if this is the Father's plan. So when you
find yourself in a situation that makes you feel insecure, it is completely okay to ask God, not
demand, to remove you from, or change your situation. It is okay to ask God, not demand, to

take away your fears. It is okay to ask Him to take away any real threats that you may be facing.
What we see here is vulnerable, authentic honesty about what Jesus is wanting. And He brings
that in humility before the Father. When Jesus references this cup here, He's referring to the cup
of wrath. For sake of time, we're not going to do a deep dive on that, but if you read Psalm 75: 8,
Isaiah 51: 17 and Jeremiah 49: 12, you will see that it's referring to judgment. Jesus was going to
drink the attack of Satan, the power of death, the guilt of sin and the full fury of God over sin.
Verse 40 "and He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, 'so you
could not watch with me for one hour.'" Jesus finishes His first prayer and goes to Peter, James,
and John. And what does He find? They're sleeping. So who does He call out among the three?
Peter. So remember we were putting ourselves in Peter's shoes. And this account, we are Peter.
Now humanly speaking, it makes sense why the disciples would have fallen asleep. They had
just had a big Passover meal. It was after midnight and they just hiked up the Mount of Olives. It
was natural to be physically tired. But the problem here is not that they were physically fatigued.
It's that they were spiritually sleepy. The disciples were sleeping at the moment of the greatest
spiritual conflict in the history of the world. They knew their teacher was about to go to the cross
and, they had been warned that they were going to fail. Here is the result of the disciples
sleeping. When the temptation came, they fell and they weren't ready. Why? Because good
intentions fail. Oh, I wish I could remember that. And every day, good intentions fail. Our flesh
is too weak. Sleeping is self-confidence. Sleeping is trusting in our own power and in our own
strength, which is exactly what the disciples were doing. So listeners, we need to be desperate for
the Lord. Our prayers need to be desperate. Our time in God's word needs to be desperate. If my
time of prayer is not marked by desperation, then I might be spiritually sleepy.
Janet: I remember when you first shared that with me as I was listening with our other ladies, and
that was so impactful to think about the fact that Jesus and the disciples all faced the same
temptation, but He was ready, and they weren't. it makes me think, will I be ready? I need to be
more desperate. And if I were seeing clearly this is a huge spiritual battle for the glory of God
and the good of my soul. I think I would pray more desperately.
Alexandra: Yeah. So there is a price to be paid. We either pay by discarding our comforts to be
vigilant, or we pay by the consequences of being sleepy or of being spiritually lazy. Verse 41. "
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh
is weak." So Jesus recognizes that the disciples' spiritual sleepiness is due to their
self-confidence. He warns them that even though they may have the best of intentions right now,
they are not in the danger zone yet. Their flesh is weak and they need to prepare with prayer. He
urges them to pray, stay alert, stay in prayer. Do not let self-confidence lull you to sleep. When
Jesus says that the flesh is weak, both he and the disciples shared this trait within their humanity.
Hebrews 4: 15 says that Jesus understood the weakness of humanity well, and yet was without
sin. As Jesus walks away from the disciples we see once again, the contrast and responses and
how Jesus and the disciples understood their humanity. Verse 42. "Again, for the second time,
Jesus went away and prayed. My Father if 'this cannot pass unless I drink it. Your will be done.'"

We see in the parallel account in Luke 22: 43, that in-between the first and second prayers God
the Father sends an angel to strengthen Jesus and clarifies that the cup of wrath must be drunk.
The second prayer is in verse 42. So Jesus now knows that the Father is not changing His mind.
His will is for Jesus to suffer. So Jesus' prayer changes a bit. It's no longer if it can pass it's now,
if it can't pass. So now Jesus is done being honest before the Father over not wanting to go to the
cross and He has moved on to asking for strength to endure what is set before Him. Essentially
what Jesus is praying here is for the strength and endurance to glorify God by carrying out God's
command to go to the cross. Help me obey. Help me to not give into this fear. Help me to glorify
you. So prayer is a powerful tool that God has given the saints to keep us protected from what
hurts us most. What would have hurt Jesus most was not the cross. Sin is what hurts us most, not
rejection, not disapproval, not loss. These things are painful, but they are not dangerous to a
well-watered soul. Sin is the danger.
Janet: This reminds me of what I've heard Paul Tripp say that we think the biggest danger is
something out there. And the biggest danger is what's inside me. But the problem is I don't
always believe that. And it's reflected in my prayer life.
Alexandra: Yeah. So there is a spiritual battle coming, and Jesus was the only one who was
preparing for this battle. So verses 43 and 44, it says, "again He came and found the disciples
sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third
time saying the same words again." Jesus comes back to the disciples and finds them sleeping.
Again. Luke adds in Luke 22: 45 and 46 that they slept because of their own sorrow. Everything
was getting depressing. But instead of enduring through that sorrow, they chose to escape.
Endurance is something you have to train for when you don't have endurance in the fight against
temptation, you will give in. When hard times come, you will escape. Escape could come in the
form of sleep, the pleasures of food or sex, binging Netflix, relationships, even substance abuse.
It's distracting yourself from the reality of something hard, but what God has said is good for
your soul. So, if we're not praying, we are not building endurance.
Janet: And I think it's good for us to think about where do I go instead of to prayer. And maybe
as believers, we go to staying busy serving. You know, anything to distract me from what is hard,
but it will look good. Or I'm gonna spend a lot of time on Facebook or I'm just whatever it is. I
don't want to deal with the hard. And it's good for us to think through that. My hope comes from
praying and asking for God's help to have more endurance.
Alexandra: Yeah. I'm glad you said that Janet, especially the part about Facebook, because for
me, I recently over the weekend was convicted that I was trying to prepare for this message, and
I admitted earlier, I was struggling with some sinful worry. And my temptation instead of
praying about it and submitting myself to the care of the Lord, I was tempted to scroll through
Instagram. And I just found myself --you know, you can look at how much screen time you

spend on these apps and it can be horrifying. So yeah, I set some some limits for myself on what
social media apps I could be on. But yeah, I think social media is a huge one.
Janet: Yes. Yes. And as you're saying, I'm thinking, okay, so then the temptation is, I know we
need to pray. So I say, pray, God help me at the podcast. I just want to please you and not
anybody else. And then I go to Instagram and I think how about slowing down to really think
through why am I afraid? What's really going on? I don't even need to just pray fast and move on
because if I really believe that's where the power is, I really want God to help me see my heart. I
want to be able to have a quiet soul. I want to pray long enough to wrestle down my soul. Even if
I'm going to have to do it again in five minutes, when it comes back, I want to wrestle it down
enough with truth, to be able to go, what do I have to be worried about? Let me think about what
is my goal? Who is God? What has He said? But that takes time. And I want to do a quick prayer
and get back to distraction.
Alexandra: Yeah. Yep. We have to self counsel for sure. So Luke records, Jesus saying rise and
pray that you may not enter temptation. He is not asking for sympathy from them here. He's not
even asking them to pray for Him. Jesus was only thinking of their souls in this moment. Just
mind blowing to me. Suffering can really cause us to be concerned only for ourselves and
focused on our pain. But our Lord here is selfless and trying to love his friends well. That is
super convicting for me.
Janet: Yes, for me too.
Alexandra: So the third prayer is in verse 44. And He prays the same thing as in verse 42. But
here Jesus is saying, since it can't pass, give me success. He is asking that God would prevent
Him from aborting, the mission to the cross. Earlier we talked about Hebrews 5: 7 where Jesus
prayed with loud crying here in the garden. It says "He prayed to Him who was able to save Him
from death." Jesus knows fully well He's going to die. So He isn't praying to be saved from
physical death at this point. He is praying that God saves Him from spiritual death.
Janet: Wow. The priority we need as well.
Alexandra: Verses 45 and 46. "'Then Jesus came to the disciples and said to them, sleep and take
your rest later on. See the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of
sinners. Rise. Let us be going. See my betrayer is at hand.'" So Jesus has finished preparing for
the cross. He's finished building the endurance needed to accomplish the mission. In the NASB
version He asked the disciples, are you still taking your rest? This is a painful question for the
disciples. They're sleeping, amidst an intense spiritual battle. And they are totally out of touch
with what is happening. Jesus says, "look." Jesus sees something. It could have been torches,
men with swords, the Jewish leaders. He might've even seen Judas in that moment. But He
doesn't tell the disciples to flee. He says the opposite. He walks forward to meet an advancing

enemy. And despite the fact that the disciples did not prepare themselves, Jesus still makes them
go with Him.
Janet: So I just want you to pause there for a minute. When you taught that, that was really
sobering. Let's think about that. He knows they're not prepared. And I got to tell you, in my
limited mama heart, it would be, I'll take care of this. You're not prepared. You stay here. But I'm
wrong. That doesn't mean they don't have to go. That is just such sobering truth for me to
remember. And it's another reason to bow my knee and be prepared.
Alexandra: Yes. So I have four little boys and so much of what we talk about in our home
throughout the day is biblical masculinity. Men are called to serve lead, protect, and rescue. And
when they sin, we can go back to these four principles to show how they're not living in the way
God created them as little men. And one thing that my husband Stefan is diligent in teaching the
boys is that protectors are heroes, and heroes walk into danger. And so I have that in the back of
my head as we're reading this because there is no greater hero than Jesus. And our hero is
walking into the approaching danger. Jesus is prepared. And this is victory over temptation. So
verse 50, "Jesus said," so we're skipping ahead a little bit. "Jesus said to Judas 'friend, do what
you came to do.' Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him." So the chief
priests have now come with a crowd of soldiers to arrest Jesus and Judas is leading the way. So I
want to pause here for a little side note. Like I mentioned earlier, Jesus would normally come to
the garden of Gethsemane as a place of rest. But tonight He was coming here because He knew
that it would be the first place that Judas would look for Him. So have you ever thought about
why the Romans and the officers of the Jewish temple were armed? There were several hundred
men with weapons to arrest one unarmed carpenter. Why? It's because earlier in that week, Jesus
had run thousands and thousands of people out of the temple grounds. And more than once they
had seen with their own eyes, the power of Jesus.
Janet: And amazing, instead of humbling themselves before Him, they think let's just get more
people to come out against Him.
Alexandra: Let's take him down. Yeah. So I'm going to jump to verse 55 for a minute. "At that
hour, Jesus said to the crowds, 'have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs to
capture me? Day after day, I sat in the temple teaching and you did not seize me.'" Okay. So
every day Jesus was teaching in the temple and they didn't seize him. He was not doing this in
secret. So why didn't they seize Him before this point in time? So I'm going to run through some
scriptures. This may be a lot, but I encourage you just to listen to this again with your Bibles,
because I just think the richness of scripture just is so beautiful here. Okay. So the question is
why didn't they seize Him before this point in time? So John 7: 30, it says "they were seeking to
arrest Him, but no one laid a hand on Him because His hour had not come." John 8: 20, "but no
one arrested Him," meaning Jesus, "because His hour had not come." Hear a theme?
Janet: I do.

Alexandra: His hour had not come. When Jesus died on the cross. Here's how it is described in
three of the gospels. Matthew 27: 50 "Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His
spirit." Luke 23: 46, "then Jesus calling out with a loud voice, said, 'Father into Your hands I
commit My spirit.' And having said this, He breathed His last." John 19: 30, "when Jesus had
received the sour wine, He said 'it is finished' and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."
Do not miss this. There was not one Jew or Gentile who is forcing Jesus to die on the cross. Up
until this point, we see in over a dozen passages that the pharisees were trying to arrest Jesus, but
their plans were continually thwarted. Why? Because Jesus wasn't ready to allow them to arrest
Him. He was calling the shots.
Janet: I love that.
Alexandra: John 10: 17 through 18. I love this. It says "for this reason, My Father loves me
because I lay down My own life that I may take it up again. No one takes My life from Me, but I
lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up
again." So the crowds could see Jesus' power, and the cross was not an unfortunate circumstance.
Jesus was submitting Himself to the Father's plan, for the Father's glory. Jesus was not a victim.
On the contrary. He is in complete control here. As John MacArthur has said, the good Shepherd
is going to lay down His life for His sheep. Jesus was a warrior entering the battle against sin and
death. And how did He prepare? Prayer.
Janet: I love that. And I know that I can't say I'm in complete control like Jesus was. So I can't
say nothing's going to happen unless I allow it. But that Savior has said that on my behalf.
Nothing's going to happen to me unless He allows it. So just as he was not a victim. I'm not a
victim because He's still in complete control. I'm not, but my Savior still is. And it's the Savior
who's the good Shepherd. And what does he ask me to do? Pray to Him.
Alexandra: Janet, that is so counter-cultural to the messages that our society is putting forth right
now. Because everyone wants to be a victim. And to say, I'm not a victim because Jesus is in
complete control. My God. My Lord.
Janet: Yes, He is on my team.
Alexandra: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. So I want us to read John's account of this scene of Jesus
being arrested because John further illustrates this theme of the power of Jesus. So, Janet, would
you mind reading John 18 verses two through six?
Janet: Sure. "Now Judas, who had betrayed Him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there
with His disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief
priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus,
knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward and said to them, 'whom do you seek?'

They answered Him. 'Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus said to them, 'I am.' Judas who betrayed Him, was
standing with them. When Jesus said to them, 'I am.' They drew back and fell to the ground."
Alexandra: Wow. So Jesus knew that they were coming and exactly what they were there for.
And walked into the approaching danger and He asks, who are you looking for? When they say
Jesus of Nazareth, He responds with, I am. Our Bibles sometimes add in the word he at the end
of that statement, but the Greek words literally mean I am. And I believe this is to show them
who they're dealing with in that moment.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: In Exodus three, God says His name, Yaweh, which means I am who I am. God is
self existent. God is eternal. He is not controlled by these puny men. There is power in Jesus'
words because Jesus is God. God spoke the world into existence. And when Jesus responded
with I am, all of the hundreds of Romans, and the Jewish temple officers that came with torches
and weapons, they drew back and immediately fell to the ground. And that reminds me of
Exodus 15: 3, which says, "Yaweh is a warrior, Yahweh is His name." Jesus was not a victim.
And we are seeing the warrior entering the battlefield. And He is not controlled by anything. And
note this, He armed Himself for the battle with prayer. How humbling for me that I don't do the
same. You know, I think all of us, if we look at this passage, we all see, man, I need to grow in
this. Right? So this same powerful Jesus prepared for the path of the cross with prayer. How can
I look at Jesus' example and not want to pray like that?
Janet: Oh. And then you see that's clearly where power is. And I even think of the wonderful
mercy of God when they all fell back when He said His name. Like they had to come to grips
with, why did we just all fall down? I mean, you know, that's kind of weird. What another
opportunity God was giving them. See who I am. See who Jesus is. Here's another opportunity
for you to repent. So through the whole thing, God is giving opportunity and working through
prayer. If Jesus was able to pray, help me be successful. That makes me recognize how can I not
want to be praying that too?
Alexandra: Yeah. Okay. So we're going to go back and read verse 50 and then couple it with
verse 51. "So Jesus said to him," Judas "'friend, do what you came to do.' Then they came up and
laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out
His hand and drew His sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear." Okay.
So Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss, and the soldiers arrested Jesus and bound Him. In verse 51,
who do you think is this person who drew his sword here?
Janet: Pick me, pick me. I'm going to guess, Peter.
Alexandra: Yes, Peter. Jesus had prayed and therefore had the self control to respond righteously
here. But Peter did not pray, and thus does not show any self control whatsoever here. He even

goes so far as to aim for the slave Malchus' head, but cut off his ear. And Jesus rebukes him.
Peter was acting like a vigilante, taking the law into his own hands in order to stop Jesus from
being taken. Peter was not prepared. In fact, we see in verse 56 that none of the disciples were
prepared. So let's compare 56 to verse 35. So the end of verse 56, it says "then all the disciples
left Him and fled." Okay. Now, if we go back to verse 35, which is when Jesus is warning them,
it says, "Peter said to Jesus, 'even if I must die with you, I will not deny you.' And all the
disciples said the same." So Peter and all the disciples are saying, if I have to die with you, I still
won't deny you. But then as we look at this verse 56, what does that last sentence say? All of
them abandoned Jesus and fled. They didn't heed the warnings. They didn't pray. They weren't
prepared. And so they failed. With all their good intentions, they did not take their weak flesh
seriously enough. And they failed. Jesus and His disciples had some choices in the garden of
Gethsemane that night.
Janet: And I would imagine that at that moment, they're thinking, I don't know how this
happened. I never intended for this to happen, but. Tell us how that did happen.
Alexandra: Yeah. So let's go through, I'm going to call this. We've got the sequence of sin and the
sequence of victory. So, the whole topic right now is how do we prepare for temptation.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Right? We're using prayer to prepare for temptation. So I'm going to walk through
what I think is two sequences that we see in this passage. One that leads to sin or failure, one that
leads to victory over your temptation. So the sequence of sin, we're going to say is confidence.
So that's our response to our humanity is confidence.
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: That led to sleep, spiritual sleepiness. The temptation came, and the response to the
temptation was sin. And the response to our sin was disaster. Peter's response to his humanity
was confidence, which resulted in spiritual sleepiness. And when that temptation came, it gave
birth to sin and all of that ended in disaster. So then on the other side of the coin, we have the
sequence of victory. When it comes to humanity, Jesus looked at it with humility. That led Him
to prayer. It resulted in prayer. When temptation came, it gave birth to obedience. And all of that
ended in victory over the temptations. So you got humility, prayer, temptation came, it led to
obedience, resulting in victory. So our conclusion, as we're looking at Jesus versus Peter, I
encouraged us today to observe Jesus and how He responded to temptation, but to empathize
with Peter, because that's where we are today. Is it not? Even just this week I can look back and
see several instances where I failed just like Peter.
Janet: Yep.

Alexandra: But, and I love this, Peter's story does not end with his failures towards Christ. Who
did God choose to preach the sermon on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, where the Holy Spirit
came down and 3000 people repented and gave their lives to Christ and got baptized. Peter. This
is grace. Peter later writes in 2 Peter 2: 9, and I'm going to read it in the NASB version. "The
Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation." Peter knows.
Janet: Wow, Peter got to write that.
Alexandra: Yeah, Peter knows this firsthand because he watched God Himself be rescued from
temptation in the garden of Gethsemane. And this is redemption. Peter's story did not end in
verse 56 and our story doesn't end there either. And praise God for that.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: We have that same hope as Peter. There is hope even in our failures. So, do we
remember what Gethsemane means?
Janet: Olive press.
Alexandra: Yes. The place where olives were crushed. Jesus was crushed so that we wouldn't
have to be. And because of Christ withstanding all temptation and what He accomplished on the
cross, even when we fail the Father, He offers us mercy, forgiveness, grace and redemption.
Jesus was alone in verse 56, and He was even more alone when the Father turned His face away.
But Hebrews 13 verses five and six says that God will never leave us or forsake us. He will help
us with our temptations. And to paraphrase Tim Keller, if Jesus Christ didn't abandon us in His
darkness, He will not abandon us in our darkness.
Janet: That's powerful.
Alexandra: So, Janet, what are some ways that you can see application from this passage?
Janet: Well, clearly I'm thinking I want to be prepared. I will tell you that I used to hear people
say things like God allowed that really difficult trial because she was more mature. And I find
myself thinking, so if I'm not mature, I won't have the trial. You know, and then I'm old enough
now in ministry and I have watched people face devastating trials. Some were prepared, some
were not. They all face the trial. And it sobers me to be saying, okay, I need time in the word. I
need to intentionally plan that. And know that I need it even when things are going well, and it
doesn't feel like it. I need time in prayer. I need it to be slower, really communing with God. I
need a track record of fighting sin. I need relationships around me that are crowding me back to
Christ. What it makes me think of right now, one application, I just want to thank God that it is
never too late, because He gave us that in the example of Peter.

Alexandra: So some questions to ask ourselves to help analyze where we're at. Am I looking at
my humanity with humility. So am I actively putting to death my self-righteousness? Or if
someone were to point out self-righteousness in my life, would I be shocked or offended? So
some indications that I've gotten sleepy. I just wanna encourage anyone listening. If you don't
have a prayer system down. Take some time out this week and organize yourself. So I use an
app called PrayerMate. It allows me to have an organized system for recording my prayers. So it
allows me to organize my prayers into categories. So I'm just going to share this just because
sometimes it's helpful to hear how other people do it. So, for example, my categories are my
husband, my kids as a whole. Then I have each individual kid as their own category. My in-laws,
then my side of the family, my church leaders, my friends and people I'm praying salvation for
and myself. So each day, this app pulls one topic to pray for from each category. For example,
every day, I'm praying for a different church leader and his wife and kids. And this allows me to
cover a lot of ground in my prayer time and also allows me to not focus on praying just for
myself, for the majority of my prayer time. So when I tell someone I will pray for them, I
literally stop and pull out prayer mate and put it in the prayer app at that moment. So we'll link
that in our show notes, in case anyone wants to use it, it's a free app. So, if you don't have a
specific time of day devoted to prayer, I highly recommend scheduling that. I'm a big planner. So
it helps me to know like, okay, this is my time of day where I'm praying. And if for some reason
I can't get to prayer during that time, this is my backup time. And I guard that. So, just a
reminder ,as a gentle encouragement, but also a strong nudge towards making changes if you
need it, if you aren't devoting time and prayer to the Lord on a daily basis, it is because you think
you don't need it.
Janet: That's right.
Alexandra: And that's a humbling statement. I'm not coming to anyone saying like, oh, I
mastered this. Like, we all should look at this passage and say, I need to grow.
Janet: Help me.
Alexandra: Yes. So one thing that you need to ask yourself also is, do I know what my big sin
issues are? How am I preparing for them? So if I don't have a battle plan for the common ways
that I sin, that includes prayer, that might be an indication that I'm resting on my strengths. I'm
being lazy. Because prayer is going to help get me through.
Janet: Yeah. So now let's take a few minutes as we're wrapping this up, because I think we've
given people a lot to think about, some ways to get started. But I would imagine there were many
of us going, I need to think about this some more and it would be helpful to have other ways. So
I'm going to mention Alexandra taught this in a three-part session for our church and we're going
to link the videos to those talks. It's called "hope in the midst of temptation: finding joy in Jesus'
example." That's going to be in our show notes as well. Alexandra's already mentioned the
PrayerMate app. That's an excellent app.

Alexandra: And I actually learned that from you, Janet. Now that I'm thinking about that. You
introduced that to me.
Janet: I would say another thing that's really helped me pray. And now there's a new one that I
have, but there's a book called "The Valley of Vision", man, these Puritans, they did such a great
job of valuing God's holiness, but also being very real in their prayers. And I find when I'm
praying, I naturally just want to pray about myself.
Alexandra: Me too.
Janet: And I need to fight that. And one way I do that as I read one of their prayers and think, oh,
my word you're right. I need to be praying about God really is amazing. And it gives me more to
pray about outside myself. So use other people's prayers.
Alexandra: Yeah, I love that book.
Janet: If you need help with that.
Alexandra: Yeah. So, one way, you know, as I'm talking through this, we broke down this
passage pretty intensely, and I just want to encourage anyone listening. Like I don't, I don't even
have a bachelor's degree. I don't have any sort of special degree in theology. I just studied God's
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And the way-- I just want to share the ways that I prepared for this. I just happened to
keep thinking about this passage and I thought I'm going to do a deep dive on the garden of
Gethsemane. So what I did was, I went to some of my favorite preachers and I went and looked
at sermon notes that they have online so two people that you could go to, if you wanted to do that
John MacArthur, his website is Grace to You, John Piper, his website is Desiring God. And those
are two great places to start if you ever wanted to look at sermon notes, you can search both of
those websites by scripture. And I just find I love reading sermon notes. And a good study
Bible. I have the John MacArthur study Bible. Can you tell I'm a Johnny Mac fan? And then
Janet, I know you and Jocelyn had talked about there's an app.
Janet: Yes. She had it from John MacArthur.
Alexandra: Okay.
Janet: Yes. The Grace to You app. And she uses that, and I have not downloaded it yet, but that's
where she does. I was just going over that with somebody this morning, where
you can even do word studies. There are so many tools out there that you don't have to be
someone who knows Hebrew and Greek.

Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: But the tools are there and find somebody and do it together. I'm doing a word study with
a friend right now. We were like, you know what, let's just each start doing it, writing out some
of what we're learning, get together and talk about it and we'll see where it goes. But we're
learning together.
Alexandra: Yeah. It kind of sounds like this message is being sponsored by John MacArthur, but
it's not, we just really like his resources and most of them are free.
Janet: And we really like that. Well, good. Thank you, Alexandra. I think that's a lot for us to
think about, and there is joy in knowing that in our temptation, God doesn't say be stronger,
handle it. He says, come to me. And I love that about God. So thanks for joining us today and we
hope you'll come back with us as we continue to see how choosing truth is choosing joy.

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Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money
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Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.