There is another moment in Jesus’ life that is compelling and deeply encouraging to me and I hope it is for you as well. Here is the scene:
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22: 39 -44
To me, this scene is one of the most encouraging pictures of what we’ve been given in our relationship with God. Jesus is about to face the agony of the cross in the next minutes and hours. He will be betrayed and handed over to His enemies by a friend. He will be tried by a kangaroo court and found guilty, when all that He was guilty of was being completely good and completely innocent. He will be scourged to the point of almost dying. He will be pierced through His hands and His feet, hang on a cross, carry the sins of the world, and feel the first frightening pangs of not feeling God the Father’s presence. Finally He will slowly die of asphyxiation. This was the moment of His mission to which all other moments led – and this moment was frightening! Isn’t it amazing, and freeing, to see how honest Jesus knew He could be in His conversation with the Father? This is exactly how honest you and I can be with the Father. There is so much more to say about this passage, so I’ll just save it for my next post . . .