As I was preparing for this week’s sermon, I just stopped and wrote an honest prayer from the heart to the Lord. I thought I’d share it with you, and hope it will encourage you and prepare you for Sunday.

O Holy Spirit, You have been Jesus’ constant Companion throughout all his life. In faithfulness you strengthened him when he was sorely tried. Thank you for recording this that I might read and see into that dark day that was beginning to envelop my Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for the simple recounting of the story so we might understand a bit better what inexpressible grief and sorrows he bore.

Jesus, thank you for telling your men to pray “that they will not fall into temptation” (2x). I need that command. But especially, I thank you that you didn’t leave us there, but you then went further, knelt down and prayed to your Father such an honest plea. You knew exactly what you were facing, and the thought of it must have sickened you. Drinking this cup means taking upon and within yourself that which is most profoundly opposite to you: Our sin’s guilt and your Father’s wrath. His full fury poured out upon you as the sin-bearer of your people.

Father, likewise I cannot imagine the agony of seeing your holy and harmless Son smeared with the guilt of sin, and holding nothing back in punishing him. All that I deserve was fully poured out upon Jesus, your Beloved, so that there will never be a time, somewhere in eternity, 1000 years from now, when someone digs up one old sin of mine that was overlooked. Because of who you are, your character, and your commitment to your own holy justice, I know that you did not excuse anything nor did you hold back from Jesus anything I deserve.

Oh Jesus, no wonder you ask your Father if he is willing to let this cup pass!

But it is no surprise, knowing you and your absolute commitment to obey and glorify your Father in all things, that you then immediately add, “yet not my will, but yours be done.”

I feel the disciples’ exhaustion and sorrow. It is sin’s exhaustion and sorrow. Unbelief’s. The flesh. They are witnessing and being wrapped up into things they cannot fathom, and they are weak and frail. There is nothing to commend them. They succumb to their weakness and sleep rather than obey you and pray. What a contrast! You are facing the most horrific of prospects, and you give yourself to conversation with your Father. They have only a glimpse, but it overwhelms them and they sleep.

This entire episode is such proof positive, overwhelming, that there is no possible way we could or would save ourselves. Salvation is utterly, solely, purely a trinitarian gift, purchased at infinite cost by your gracious initiative and brought to full completion by your infinite wisdom, power, and knowledge. It is all of grace, all of you. Thank you, dear Lord!

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