Matthew 26 "Forsaken"

“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” (v. 42)

Many have taught that Jesus was a bit anxious about dying on the cross, as if death was His focus here. I see the real anxiety as that of sin being placed on Him for the first time in His life. Jesus was not accustomed to sin. Furthermore, He knew the Scriptures, and He knew that God would have to forsake Him because of the sin of the world being laid on Him, and that had never happened before either. Think how scary that must have been, to think that, for the first time in His life, God would turn away from Him, and actually leave Him for a time. One that is totally led by the Spirit and filled with the power of God would also find it a scary thing to go a day without Him and His presence. What else could bring such agony to our Lord? It was the anticipation of sin, and judgment, and not the death that He was anxious about.

We all know the story here, Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane praying, and three times He goes to the Father over this matter of sin. He too needed the grace to see Him through! Sin is so terrible that Christ asked the Father if there was any other way to redeem man, that He would deliver Him from this sin, but He knew there was not. The voice of anxiety speaks with great intensity of spirit. Jesus was “sorrowful, even unto death,” (v. 38), as if He would die from sorrow. Though Christ saw the urgency of the matter, the disciples did not. Mans view of sin is much like theirs, an indifference as far as the ferocity of it, and it seems that sleep was more important to them. Three times Jesus came and found the disciples asleep, and three times He sought the Father about the matter of sin and the judgment of being forsaken by Him. The frustration He must have felt, as well as the expectation of the burden of sin must have weighed heavily upon our Lord, and He sweat, “as it were, great drops of blood” as He prayed.

The disciples had failed in praying, that they “enter not into temptation” (v.41), even though Jesus had only prayed for an hour. He knew that the flesh was weak, even though the “spirit is willing.” How often we do this. Our intentions are good, and we begin to pray, at night, just as we retire for the night, then we fall asleep on Jesus! A busy day for the Lord will make a tired body, but if we have the right attitude of the urgency of sin, and the need of mankind, we should be so caught up in our prayer that we cannot sleep. The key is intensity. Jesus’ prayer was so intense that He could not sleep, it was the furthest thing from His mind, and He sweat as He prayed, “as it were, great drops of blood” (Lk. 22:44)

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