TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Matthew 26:39
As we observed yesterday, the covenant God made with Abraham is a death covenant in which God assumes full responsibility for providing a Savior. The penalty would be carried by God alone for any breach of this covenant. Therefore, it became necessary for Immanuel (God with us) to suffer the consequences for our covenant failures (1 Peter 2:24).
This obligation God swore to assume is one that would be paid on the cross by His Son. We dare not think, therefore, Jesus’ plaintive prayer in the garden is somehow about the physical pain of the cross. Many men had been scourged and crucified, many in defiance of the pain as they spit in the eye of Rome. No, it is not the pain, great as it would be, Jesus dreads in the depths of His spirit. In ways we cannot fathom, the Son would suffer being forsaken because of our sins. This is the agony Jesus finds completely foreign to His nature (Matthew 27:46; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 12:2).
God is a covenant keeper. When He by both promise and oath made sure His covenant commitment to Abraham (Hebrews 6:16-18), He saw the cross at the end (1 Peter 1:20). This awareness infuses even greater appreciation into our faith. Knowing the end from the beginning, the Father does not hesitate to make covenant obligations to us all.
Now, let us revisit the garden. Jesus does not avoid His hour; it is for the hour of His death He has come to the world (John 12:27). His disciples would not accept this; they have allowed no place for a crucified Messiah (Matthew 16:21-23). Many “messiahs” had come only to die. They only hear the negative; the fact of a resurrection after three days simply does not register.
So, there is Jesus praying. His “hour” has come. His closest friends sleep while he agonizes alone. His betrayer has hatched his plot. A rough band is journeying to arrest, humiliate, torture, and kill Him. Satan will appear to win. Jesus, however, is not deaf to the promise of the resurrection. Beyond the seeming defeat would be a victory over all things opposed to God (Philippians 2:5-11).
Today, I will…remember the covenant, God’s loyalty to even sinners, the victory snatched from the jaws of defeat (Revelation 12:3-5), and the hope I have because of the faithfulness of God.