The Holy Spirit revealed something to me the other morning that I guess I thought I understood, but not with the clarity He brought to it.
Matt 26:38-39 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” 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.”
What He asked me to look at were just two words in this passage from Matthew that opened up a new understanding of the suffering that Jesus endured in the garden.
I, as many of you I am sure, have always understood the “suffering” Jesus was about to endure. Suffering the most painful and agonizing death imaginable. And that was most certainly a part of the reason He asked His disciples to watch with Him in prayer. But there is something more revealing in His time alone in the garden:
Luke 22:43-44 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Jesus prayed “more earnestly” after the angel strengthened Him, to the extent that His sweat became like blood. He knew that as the Son of God the enemy could not touch Him, and that after He sacrificed His life for all mankind that He would be seated with His Father in heaven. That was the plan from the beginning… right? Yes, but I have not taken into account at this moment that Jesus was one of us… A Man. He was not in fear of failing as the Son of God because Satan could not win that battle. His fear was that of a man, that He would fail as a man, that He would fail as the Son of Man. And should that happen He would return to heaven but His death would mean that He had failed as “our Savior.” Look back at verse 38 as recorded by Matthew and note two key words… My soul!
As Jesus faced His ultimate challenge as a man, so must we face our challenges, no matter how daunting. He has shown us that God has an ultimate plan for each one of His children, and it is a perfect plan. However, we have a much more important role in fulfilling that plan than we often fail to realize. Yes, God will be faithful to His plan for our life, but we have to walk it out. Not to be way out of line here but as Jesus dealt with His desire to fulfill God’s plan for His life and the “agony of His soul” that was involved, so must we in the challenges God places in front of us.
What the Holy Spirit encouraged me with was the fact that Jesus has shown us the way to live through the challenges of this life no matter how dire they may be. His faithfulness to God as the Son of Man is our example. We know that God knows exactly where we are and we have His Word, His promise:
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
He never gives us a challenge or allows a challenge resulting from our action or the action of enemy that we cannot overcome in Him. As the Father was there with Jesus, sending an angel to meet His need, so He is with us… each and every time. Blessed are those the Lord sends to faithfully stand and “watch with us.” The challenge for us is to remember that and stand on His promise and allow Him to use it to work together for good. We can be absolutely certain that it is an important part of overall plan for each one of us… to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29).
Let us never forget that He became one of us and lived life as one of us, from birth to death… perfectly without failing!