Like me, have you ever thought of the importance of the prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane? Matthew 26: 39, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as Thou wilt.” And verse 42, ” 0ur Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” Mark expresses the same prayer in slightly different terms, Mark 14: 36, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from me; nevertheless not what I will but what Thou wilt.” Aud Luke adds the following to the prayer, Luke 22: 43 & 44, ” And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven strengthening Him. And being in an AGONY, He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Of course, Jesus knew the painful and humiliating death that awaited Him, as His enemies began the procedure leading to their moment of appalling triumph. He had already begun to feel the extreme anxiety about the torture to follow and His agony was such that,” He sweat great drops of blood.” (It is interesting that on one recent Easter, one of our papers reported a similar case which occurred in a Nazi death camp, where the fear in one victim produced great drops of bloody sweat and the victim screamed with pain at the slightest touch.)
I ask if you have ever thought about the importance of this prayer. This is the moment when the die was cast, Jesus was committed to His courageous act of sacrifice, the very act on which our faith depends, because without it, there would be no resurrection, no redemption for mankind, no Christianity and no life after death since we would have remained in our sins, which can only produce death. In this moment, Jesus was faithful in two ways; first, He had the faith that, being sinless, He would be resurrected to life by God; and second, He was faithful to His undertaking before the foundation of the world. And that was recorded in Psalm 40: 6&7, “Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: Burnt offering and sin offering has Thou not required. Then said 1, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, 0 my God, yea, Thy law is within my heart.” So, Jesus was absolutely correct when He said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me.
Prayer is two way communication. I cannot help myself from speculating what occurred in heaven when this gut wrenching prayer arrived before the Ancient of Days. My musings of the heavenly abode begin with the vision of Daniel recorded in chapter 7: 13&14, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Of course, this is the result of the actions following Jesus’ prayer and triumph over the grave. And additional information in Revelation 19 : 4, “And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God, that sat on the throne, saying Amen: Alleluia.”
In my recent essay on the patriarch Isaac, we noted these words of Isaac, “But I am of joyful and cheerful heart in this matter and I say blessed is the lord who this day has chosen me to be a burnt offering before him. ” In Jasher’s account these words are followed by, “Abraham rejoiced but was weeping.” There are two occasions when God, the Father, speaks aloud; first, the baptism of Jesus, where He says, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased;” second, at the transfiguration He says, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him”. Jesus described their relationship many times saying that the Father was in Him and He in the Father. Can we therefore speculate that the Ancient of Days, like Abraham, had mixed emotions when that prayer for help arrived?
Did the Ancient of Days rejoice, on the one hand, because His great plan for eternity would be realized? On the other hand, did He grieve knowing what evil men were about to do to His Son? Was He angered that His wrath, caused by sinful men, demanded the sacrifice of His Son? Did the four beasts before the throne cower on the sapphire floor to avoid seeing the tears in the eyes of the Ancient of Days? Did the four and twenty elders cease their worship to acknowledge the extreme emotions of the Ancient One? Did the heavenly choirs cease their songs of praise? Was there a deadly silence? What a fearful thing!
This is the God who sees every sparrow fall, and now He is looking at the fall of His beloved Son! This is the God who is full of mercies and tender loving kindness unable to intervene in the agony of His Son. Well, not quite; He dispatched an angel to strengthen Jesus.
This must have been the very worst day ever in the heavenly abode. And Jesus made that marvelous statement to Pilate, Matthew 26 : 53 & 54, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of Angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” Jesus, the Word, aware of everything in the Scriptures, was faithful to the very end. Although He wanted God to provide an easier way, He accepted the only way that complied with the law of God. “Lo, I come; I delight to do Thy will, 0 my God, Thy law is within my heart.”
During that short, history-making prayer, Jesus re-committed to His undertaking before the world was formed. His faith and courage have never been surpassed. When he defined love by saying, “No greater love hath any man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” He did exactly that, demonstrating the greatest act of love in all of history! Is Jesus entitled to a name above all names? Absolutely! Is He worthy of praise, honour, glory, dominion, power and majesty? Absolutely! There is NONE OTHER; therefore, at the name of JESUS, every knee shall bow!