Journey To The Cross - Day 13
Luke 22:39-44 (ESV)
39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
AGONY IN PRAYER
All throughout Jesus’ public ministry, he had a habit of withdrawing from the crowds, and even from the disciples at times, to pray. Once, when his popularity in Galilee surged, he went to a lonely place early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35). Then, he spent the whole night in prayer before he specifically chose ‘the twelve’ from among the larger group of disciples (Luke 6:12-13). Also, after Jesus fed thousands with five loaves of bread and two fish and the crowds tried to make him king, how did Jesus respond? He went up on a mountain to pray (Mark 6:46).
His habits of prayer are remarkable – and mysterious with him being God-in-the flesh and all. But Jesus’ most impassioned hour of prayer happened Passover night in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. He instructed his disciples to watch and pray as he spent some time alone with the Father. But before he began, he shared with Peter, James and John that his soul was very troubled and grieved (Mark 14:34). His physical posture and perspiration confirmed the truth of this statement. The prayers that he offered were spoken in agony – so much so that sweat pooled upon his forehead and fell to the earth like drops of blood. Although he was kneeling, his spirit was actively wrestling over the coming journey to the cross.
The disciples likely did not hear much of what Jesus prayed as he petitioned the Father. They were drifting in and out of sleep. However, we do know that these words were uttered from the Messiah’s lips, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” Jesus, in his humanity, was asking for relief from the agony of carrying the sins of the world upon His soul. He was asking for another plan which did not require scourging, piercing and death. But ultimately, through prayer, he agreed with the will of the Father. Jesus would willingly lay down his life according to the eternal plan of salvation.
May we learn from the prayer life of the Master and always seek the deeper will of God for His redemptive purposes. Amen.