"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak"
Jesus not only talked the talk, He walked the walk for us. One of the most poignant scenes in the Easter story is after Jesus shared the Last Supper with his closest friends, His chosen
12. His heart was obviously heavy. I think the weight of the world was literally on His shoulders as He thought about what was to come.
Have you ever been there?
Look at what Jesus did, though. Jesus deliberately surrounded himself with His close friends in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed His heart out, allowing God to comfort and guide Him both physically and spiritually.
"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death...My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
Jesus shows us that friends and prayer are inseparable and essential, especially during difficult times. Jesus certainly had cause to doubt God and run for the hills or at least crawl up in a hole and shut everyone out so He could die. I think that would be my first inclination, anyway. He knew He was about to be betrayed, tortured, and killed.
But, in faith and trust, Jesus faced His harsh reality and pain by crying out to God, His Father. Matthew said Jesus "fell with his face to the ground." After the most heartfelt, most genuine prayer, Jesus explains to those who have doubts about His story,
"Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?"
Jesus' prayers confirmed God's will for His life, telling a bigger story, making a covenant, a lasting promise, with His disciples, including you and me. This is not picture perfect in my logical mind, but it is purpose perfect in God's plan,
"Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the
forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now until that day
when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
In fact, the picture we get from reading the story of the crucifixion is disgusting. Despite being an innocent man and the son of God, Jesus was mocked, spit on, flogged, taunted, beaten, tortured, and nailed to the cross between two criminals. He didn't deserve to be in the place in which He found himself. But even in the middle of the worst day of His life, God worked miracles, far beyond our comprehension and high above our knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong.
Jesus forgave and saved the convicted criminal dying beside Him without question (Luke 23:38-43
). It doesn't make sense, but just like that, He performs an unpredictable, undeserved, saving miracle, making God's love plain and simple, not about good works. In His blessing, Jesus foreshadows the power and majesty of the mercy and grace God makes available to all of us in Christ.
So the bottom line- Jesus died a horrible, sacrificial death, so that we can take God for his Word. In Christ, we live, now, with hope.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Thank heavens for Jesus. We are not limited by our own sin, stuck in the results of our own efforts, bound to the predictable, or confined to those things which our minds completely understand and our eyes are able to envision. No, the new life we have in Christ, is so much more. I don't know what more necessarily means for my life, but I know God does.
A prayer for today-
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you for giving your Son for the forgiveness of my sins. Thank you for loving me so much that my life is blessed by your mercy and grace. I pray you will strengthen my faith and trust in you, helping me live a life of "more in Christ." I also pray, especially today, for those who are feeling overwhelmed by the pain of their reality. May they find your open arms and feel the comfort, peace, and guidance of your unconditional love.
In Christ's Holy Name I pray,
May God bless you today and always,