Saturday, June 25, 2011

Take This Cup . . .

Luke 22:42
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

Jesus knew all along that this moment would come. He had shared with His disciples how the Son of Man must suffer that His mission might be fulfilled; they would not or could not comprehend the magnitude of the agony their Lord must endure. Now, in Jesus' last moments with them, they cannot even stay awake to pray with Him, to comfort Him with their companionship. Jesus, betrayed and abandoned, is left to face this nightmare of impending death on His own.

On His own? Wasn't the Father there with Him? I'm sure God was there, but I am just as certain that Jesus, for the first time in His life, couldn't feel His Father's presence. Jesus' full humanity is nowhere in scripture as evident as at that dreadful, desperate time in the garden. "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me . . ." As the reality and proximity of His imminent torture and crucifixion loom glaringly before Him, so does His human longing to cling to this life, to question why it is He who must bear such suffering.

Haven't all of us, at a time of tragedy or disaster, begged God to take these cups away from us? When He didn't, what was your reaction? Did you feel forsaken and miles away from the Father's comforting touch? Or, did you, as Jesus did in the garden, pray the "prayer that never fails" (Jan Karon, author, Mitford Series): "Yet not my will, but yours be done"?

Trials and tribulations are inevitable in this life and, in the midst of these, you may not be able to feel God's presence with you. But, remember this: God allowed His beloved Son to endure an excruciating death for the price of your sins and glorified Jesus forever in the resurrection. You are His child. He will one day glorify you.

Psalms 107:33-43, 108:1-6 (7-13) or 33
1 Samuel 9:15-10:1
Acts 7:30-43
Luke 22:39-51

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