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Friday, March 30, 2018

Inspired by . . . Holy Week: Good Friday


36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless[e] I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26:36-46NKJV)
Jesus spent the night before His death in the garden of Gethsemane praying with His disciples. Or rather He was praying, they were sleeping. The bread and wine had grounded their bodies, the late hour made their minds sluggish. They were completely unaware of the spiritual battle surrounding them.

Jesus is in anguish as He prays. So much so that Luke tells us His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

When considering this part of the narrative how often to we miss the obvious fact that Jesus' prayer was not answered. Or more precisely, God said 'no.'

Clearly an affirmative from God is not based on our level of faith or righteousness. 

In fact, Oswald Chambers suggests the opposite:
'The Lord, when He has given great faith, has been known to test it by long delays."
Was there ever any chance that Jesus' prayer would be answered in the affirmative? I shudder to think of such a possibility.

We see the evil in our world now and think how bad it is - where is God in the midst of all this pain?

And yet it is His very hand that is restraining evil - giving those whom He created time to choose life eternal with Him rather than to live in darkness.
"You know, too, about the restraining power which ensures that he (satan) will be revealed only at his appointed time, for already the secret forces of wickedness are at work, secret only for the present until the restraining hand is removed from the scene. Then he will be revealed, the wicked one whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of His mouth and annihilate by the radiance of His presence." (2 Thess 2:6-8RE)
As Jesus knelt there in prayer, did He feel the ground tremor under the footsteps of the soldiers as they marched toward the garden? Did the man-Jesus fear the physical pain He knew He was about to endure, even as He submitted fully to His Father's will?

Let us not forget the significance of this truth: Jesus had a choice.

He chose to submit. He chose to die.

For you. For me.
Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish[f] by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. (Matthew 26:52-56NKJV)

Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June