“Rise, Let us be Going”


Sermon by Dr. J. Frank Norris, First Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas

(Stenographically Reported)

DR. NORRIS: I want to call attention to a verse that has pressed upon my soul, and I trust it will be used to bless this audience.

Matthew’s Gospel, 26:36, “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.”

Another verse, the 46th, “Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”

I never knew what the word “Gethsemane” meant until the last time wife and I were in Jerusalem. There was a large party present and that old Englishman, who was very charming, explained to us that it was a place where the olives were pressed and the olive oil was made – not the wine press that makes the wine, but where olives were pressed. Therefore this place, like the Potter’s field came to be known as such. So the word “Gethsemane” was attached to this place because here the olives were pressed and made into oil. Isn’t that wonderful?

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane.”

Little did these men who through the ages pressed the Olives and got the oil, know they were preparing the place where the greatest heartbreak of all time would take place.

It is very significant as we think of the Twelve that night.

Judas betrayed Him. The Eleven walked down the mountain side with Him and came to a brook. We read in John,

“And they crossed over Cedron.”

And when they crossed over there was a garden entrance and Jesus says to the Eight, “You sit here.”

There is a very significant lesson as we think of why He said to the Eight, “You sit here.” No reason is told us, but the circumstance is very clear why He said, “You sit here.”

Why didn’t He take the Eleven into the Garden? He says, “You sit here” to all eight of them. You can find their names. And they sat down there.

And then the next word says Jesus took them, the same Three that He took up to the Mount of Transfiguration – Peter, James and John, the two sons of Zebedee.

And then He said to them, “You watch here.”

And then He went about a stone’s throw from these three. He said, “You sit here now; and you watch while I go down there and pray.”

It is one of the most touching things, if not, to me, the most touching thing in the life of Jesus that He wanted the inner circle of the inner circle to watch with Him not to say a word, but to sit in silence. He wanted them to see Him. As three times He fell on His face and prayed, He says, “You watch.”

But they were overcome with sorrow. Luke tells us they went to sleep because of sorrow. And that is the great danger right at this time.

We can discover whether we have any faith or not as to whether or not we are going to let the world’s sorrow overcome us and whether or not we let the confusion around us overwhelm us.

They were the three best of His Twelve. What an opportunity they missed! Jesus never did that but once.

I will not go into the different views as to why He prayed. My humble judgment is that He suffered more in the Garden than He did even on the Cross. It was the human Christ that shrank from the cross. And it was the Divine Christ who was delivered that He might deliver us on the cross. There is no conflict.

He comes and finds them sleeping for sorrow. There is no rebuke in it. But I imagine Old Peter, John and James ever afterwards never forgot what he said that night. He came and saw them sleeping and says, “What, could ye not watch with me just for one hour? Couldn’t you give me just one hour?”

In other words, couldn’t you just turn loose of everything and forget everything else except me just for one hour?”

Here is the thing I want to emphasize. Everybody will go into Gethsemane. Every preacher will go into it. No question about that.

Every father and mother in this country that has a boy in the service will go through it. And there will be seven million in it before we get through. Everybody is going into it.

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane.”

What did He do when He went in there?

He prayed.

What did He do when He went in there?

He made absolute surrender.

What did He say?

“Not my will but thine be done.”

We get up and say that, but do we mean it? Do we mean “Thy will be done, not mine?”

Oh, we will have a great service and everybody is saying it. But wait till the sailing is hard and the winds are contrary, and the waves are high. That is what I am talking about.

I have a dear friend, one of the greatest preachers in this country. His great trouble is this – that he can go into Gethsemane, but he can’t go through it. And very few can go through it. The difference is not in brains or intellect – that doesn’t do it – but the difference is whether or not you can go through it.


I want to leave this last word, and that is this, “Rise, let us be going.”

He came into that place and made absolute surrender and then he says, “Rise, let us be going.”

We are in the going business.

Now here is the thing that presses hard on my soul right now.

Now I want the attention of those who are thinking of giving their lives to religious work.

In the first place we have got to have a revolution in our own life.

In your life you have probably been working. You had to punch the clock. You had that superintendent down there to make out your program. Now you haven’t had anybody to tell you what to do.

I have noticed a lot of young preachers. They will come in and say, “I met a fellow over yonder and led him to Christ or down on the street or in the beer garden.”

Now the devil has got him. He runs around and asks people, “Are you a Christian?” and then comes back and reports how many people have been saved. The devil has had him and he is just running loose, and you hear a lot about his soul winning, but you never see the string of fish not that we should not win souls, but when you just go out here and ask a fellow you meet on the street car some questions and that is the last anybody ever hears about it, I wouldn’t give a snap of my finger for ten thousand such results.

You say, “Well, isn’t that fellow worth saving?”


Now let me say this. The devil invented this word “Contact.” He wants you to be contented with “contacts.” I wouldn’t give a dime a car load for “contacts.” Imagine one of the deacons at the First Baptist Church of Jerusalem in New Testament times coming in and saying, “I made a contact down yonder with an Ethiopian.”

No, he got out of his chariot and got down on his knees and was saved, and then he put him under the water. That is what he did.

Imagine Paul and Silas when they get back to Philippi saying, “I made so many contacts today.” No, he put that one under the water.

And the next morning after he got out of jail imagine Paul saying, “Silas, put down that we made contact with a jailor last night.”

Imagine Jesus saying he “made contact” with Nicodemus last night.

Can you imagine the next day Jesus coming in and saying “I made contact with the Woman of Samaria.”

Let’s go to Gethsemane, and then go through Gethsemane, and then “Rise and be going,” and lead souls to Christ and lead them to church.

Go to dark Gethsemane,
Ye that feel temptation’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see;
Watch with him one bitter hour:
Turn not from his grief’s away;
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

Follow to the judgment hall;
View the Lord of life arraigned;
Oh, the wormwood and the gall!
Oh, the pangs his soul sustained !
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
Learn of him to bear the cross.

Calvary’s mounful mountain climb;
There, admiring at his feet,
Mark that miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete:
“It is finished,” hear him cry;
Learn of Jesus Christ to die.”