Third Sunday in Lent
March 15, 2020
(Luke 22:39-44 KJV) “And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 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.”
It is hard, if not impossible, to imagine such suffering. Jesus didn’t only suffer on the cross, but also at Gethsemane. But notice how he prepared for it and approached it. He had been praying all his life, and even disappeared to pray in solitary places when things got difficult. And now they were becoming even more difficult. The heart of his prayers recognized that he had to endure sufferings and death in order to accomplish his mission, the salvation of mankind. But knowing the good that came from attaining that goal, that mission didn’t make it any easier.
Those of us who have never endured pain or suffering really cannot begin to imagine the kind of pain Jesus suffered. Yet he did it. He did it for me. The agony, the stress of it all was real. Even physicians will acknowledge that when humans are under great stress, blood capillaries can break near the skin and blood will “sweat out” of the skin.
Yet through all this suffering, the will of the Father was done. God loved us – all of us – so much that he willingly sent his only-begotten Son and that Son went willingly to redeem us from eternal pain and suffering.
O almighty God, look upon the needs and prayerful requests of thy people and stretch forth the right hand of thy majesty to answer our God-pleasing prayers and be our defense against all our enemies. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord.