Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reinforcements




On the western side of the Mount of Olives, about a stones throw from the brook Cedron, there is a small field with a few shrubs, eight old olive trees and a stone walking path winding through it.  The spot is sandy and appears somewhat forsaken with it's low broken wall surrounding the area.

In the cool of the evening after sunset, this olive grove, secluded somewhat from the city of Jerusalem, became a place of solitude, meditation and a place of prayer for Jesus.  But this night, something was different.  His soul wasn't at peace as He was normally accustomed too.  This night He took all but one of His disciples with Him to this small retreat that He used as a quite setting for prayer. 

The one disciple missing was a traitor in the grasp of Satan.

After Jesus and His disciples enter the olive grove, He takes Peter, James and John a little further inside and tells these chosen three ... "My soul is sorrowful ... even unto death ... watch with Me."  He is asking for their prayerful support which doesn't come.

That one short hour of strengthening prayer He wanted with them ... was not to be.  Instead, because of the late hour, each of the three times He checked on these men, He found them asleep.  Jesus was alone

Matthew writes that Jesus began to be sorrowful and very heavy, and goes farther into the garden to pray by Himself.  This private prayer time with God has been called the "Agony in Gethsemane" ... because at this point ... being so overwhelmed with anguish and sorrow, the soul can feel excruciating torture as if it were to "dissolve and separate soul and body" which causes Him to sweat as it were, drops of blood.

It is during this extreme agony of soul that the man Jesus cries out to God ... "Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." 

Once before when the man Jesus was worn down after He was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, angels ministered to Him.  This time, not only was His flesh in need of strength, but His soul as well ... so, as He prayed, an angel was dispatched from heaven to strengthen Him for the task ahead.

If He was God ... why would this plan of the ages cause such anguish in His soul.  Yes, Jesus knew He was going to die in a few hours, but God can't die.  While this is true ... His outer garment of flesh, the man born of Mary certainly could and He knew it.

In the final few hours of His life on earth, the disciples of Jesus had an opportunity to spend some quality time with Him in prayer, which He desired because as He said ... "the hour is at hand ... when the Son of man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners."

When the chief priests, elders and temple guards came for Jesus, the disciples were aroused from their sleep.  Bold Peter, trying to defend Jesus draws his sword and takes a swing at one of them but only takes off an ear instead of the head he was aiming for.  Jesus, always in control tells Peter to ... "put his sword back into it's place" ... for He doesn't need or want mortal man's weapons of war to defend Him. 

Jesus drives the point home to Peter as He says ... "Don't you think that I could ask My Father (for reinforcements) and He would give Me twelve legions of angels?"

All Jesus had to do was say the word, and there would be at least twelve regiments, over 60,000 warrior angels with swords drawn to do battle for Him.  But Jesus was going to do it alone.

That's why He came to earth.  Man could not save himself.  God was going to have to die ... no one else was qualified.  Jesus was God in the flesh.  The man Jesus, willingly ... all by Himself, without help from anyone ... offered Himself as the Lamb of God to fix man's sin problem. 

Yes, reinforcements were available. 

But they weren't needed.  



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