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Resurrection and New Life 4: Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

Resurrection and New Life Day 4 – Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

“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.’ And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” (Matthew 26:39-41, ESV)

What have you prayed for that you remember to this day with striking clarity? Maybe you prayed for a sick family member to be restored to health once again. Or maybe you prayed for a broken relationship to be repaired and renewed. It may have been for help over a tremendous financial burden. What I’m referring to here is a prayer that had enormous impact. Those are the ones that linger in our minds when we think of God and our personal prayer life. Maybe He answered in the way you wanted Him to, or maybe He closed doors and chose to heal beyond this life. Maybe the prayer seemed unheard and you never really got clear direction, causing you to feel frustrated and alone in your private battle. Jesus prayed too.

When we read this prayer of Jesus in the Garden as He awaited all that would transpire for Him over the coming days, we see a Man deeply touched with grief. I’ve wondered before if I would want to know my date of death if that information was made available to me, but honestly, I’ll gladly pass. But Jesus, being the Son of God, knew all things, even His approaching death and all He would face at the hands of the humans He lovingly created. And He was in distress. Isn’t that what often drives us to our knees to seek help and comfort from our heavenly Father? Jesus desired this too and, in fact, prayed that if there were any other way to rescue us from our sin God would provide an alternative. Maybe you’ve prayed for an alternative as you faced a certain trial that deeply troubled you.

You might think that the reasonable answer from God the Father would have been to provide the alternative Jesus longed for. But our sins required a payment, and God could make no exception, not even for His only beloved Son. Jesus always remained obedient to His Father, no matter what His plan entailed, including the horrible treatment Jesus would suffer from His tormentors before being nailed to the cross, and even His death.

Another thing to note from Jesus’ prayer is the lack of support from His disciples in His hour of great need. I know in my own experience that having other believers hold me up in prayer as I faced difficult circumstances bolstered me. He didn’t have that; He suffered alone. How discouraging it must’ve been to come back from His time in prayer to find His disciples fast asleep. May we take this as a reminder that those who are suffering around us find great comfort in our prayerful presence. Am I willing to simply sit with someone as they face a personal battle and just support them by my loving presence? 

God’s heart was surely grieved at the death His Son must face for us. If I knew my own children would face something this horrifying and unjust, I would never allow them to experience it, but God’s plan from the beginning of time was our redemption and rescue. This was only possible through the shed blood of His perfect and holy Son, Jesus. He willingly offered Him, because His love for us is that vast and immeasurable. May we allow ourselves a moment to let that truth sink in. How precious is our God!

As we travel through the Easter story this weekend, may our hearts be truly touched with the love our Savior had for us to willingly face these horrors in order to redeem us. May our faith be reignited as we recall His great sacrifice for us—for me! May our prayers be aligned with the prayer of Jesus: not as I will, but as you will. God’s plan for us often includes suffering. Are you willing to suffer in order that He might be glorified in your suffering? Jesus was willing, and His willingness demonstrates the greatest love story ever known to mankind. Praise Him for this today!

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