I blogged here about the lessons I learned from Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane. Now that I’m reading Luke’s Gospel account, I made two new observations (for me) about the time in the Garden.
First, after Jesus first prayed, “there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22: 43).
I’m sure I read about that angel before, but it jumped off the page today. Joel Green says in his commentary on Luke (New International): “What is clear is that the presence of the angel empowers Jesus to engage in even more ardent prayer.”
The next phrase shows the escalation of Jesus’ prayer: “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly…” (vs. 44)
I’d never thought about the idea that God might send angels to help us pray. Certainly both the Holy Spirit and Jesus pray for us, but I like the idea of angelic help, too.
Green goes on to say, “Angels appear often in [Luke’s Gospel], providing messages and assistance for God’s people….”
I wonder if God sends angels to help me pray?
I’d never noticed this either, “And when [Jesus] rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow.” (vs. 45). They were sleeping “for sorrow.”
I can understand them sleeping because they had a big dinner or they were exhausted after a long day, but they didn’t seem to get AT ALL what was going on, what they had to be sorrowful about. At the Last Supper, instead of grieving Jesus’ imminent death – which they didn’t understand – they were arguing about who was the greatest (as I blogged about here).
The only thing I can think is that they observed Jesus in the incredible agony of His prayer. They finally “got” that something awful was about to happen. The words about him leaving and dying may have started to sink in.
And, to top it off, they may have felt totally incapable of helping Jesus in His agony. They looked on in fear as He wept. The One who led them now needed them and they felt helpless.
So they gave in to their sorrow and slept.
I wonder what I would have done? Maybe in that situation, I’d have needed an angel to help me, too!
Dear Lord: I love that you continue to show me new things about your Word! It never gets old. You know I am not a good pray-er, so send me your angels to help me, too. And you know I often feel inept when people have needs, so help me to learn how to stay awake as they wrestle. Amen.