As Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, he returned to the disciples three times and found them sleeping (Matthew 26:40-44; Mark 14:37-41; Luke 22:45). The first and second times, Jesus returned to them hoping the fruit of answered prayer would become evident in them. He prayed for his Father to remove the cup of depression from him (see, “Bearing Away Our Sins“), that is, the cup of deadly silence in their fellowship. Twice, he came looking for that second hand encouragement, that he might be strengthened. When Jesus prays, the Scriptures say he is always answered (John 11:41-42). The Father waited for the third session of prayer, giving the three disciples every opportunity to be used of God and bring strength and encouragement to Jesus in answer to his prayer, but they failed, as I so often do. They all testified of their own strength and loyalty to Christ. They could not believe that they would desert him. They were filled with the thoughts of glory issuing from their own hearts, but failed to stand with Jesus in the hour of prayer (see: “Watch and Pray”). They failed to listen for God to speak to them. I am desensitized by dwelling at the border of righteousness or the hedge that God has placed around me, and I often fail to listen for that “still small Voice” of God within. Therefore, just as Daniel waited twenty-one days for his answer, because of a spiritual battle (Daniel 10:2-3, 7-14), so Jesus waited until his third session of prayer, before his Father answered him with the comfort and strength of an angelic visit. Read the rest of this entry »
Daily Archives: August 16, 2009
If Jesus was troubled with the apparent break in fellowship between him and his Father, how could the angel strengthen him?
I will offer a crude, but, I believe, a fairly accurate example of how Jesus could have been strengthened by the presence of the angel in Gethsemane. I believe I understand Jesus’ plight, at least in part, because of what occurred between my own father and me. I am the eldest of eight children. When I was in my twenties, my dad did something that hurt our relationship. In fact, I withheld my love for him. He hurt me, though he did not intend to do so, but I wanted to hurt him. This went on for about two years, before we were reconciled on his death bed. I tried even then to hold back the love I had for him, but I broke down and wept into his lap. Through my sobs, I could hear him say, as his hand stroked my head, “I knew he still loved me.” Up until then, my dad would not speak of his dying. Afterward, he did. I believe that our reconciliation strengthened him. He never wanted to appear weak. After we were reconciled, I believe he was able both to face death and speak about it without breaking down. Read the rest of this entry »