I am sure, if you have lived for any length of time, that you have faced troubles and sorrows in your life. Sometimes we can see them coming, but most of the time they come of out nowhere as we cross an intersection of life. The suddenness of the crash often leaves us grasping for answers. The Bible provides us with a powerful example of how Jesus engaged the troubles and sorrows in His life. It reveals God’s antidote for the burdensome times we all face.
The account that I am referring to is Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane in the hours just prior to His arrest and crucifixion. It is a passage that reveals Jesus’ humanity. We have a tendency to think that Jesus was Superman and nothing could stop Him. It is true that as God nothing could stop Him but the Bible reveals that He also felt the pain and the challenges that every human bring faced. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18) We are reminded that Jesus relates to us because He was susceptible to suffering. It is easy to think that Jesus was impervious to pain. He was not, as this verse clearly reminds us. The difference is that when tempted He did not sin. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
I believe that one of the greatest temptations in life is pain. Out of all the sources of pain in our life, I would suggest that physical pain and the related suffering is probably the most trying. We need to remember that Jesus suffered. The difference between Him and us is that He did not sin even though the pain was real. The Bible has recorded for us the real suffering that Jesus faced that fateful evening in the Garden on the night of His arrest. “And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.” (Matthew 26:37) Jesus uses two terms that remind us of the significance of the burden on Him. The term for “sorrow” speaks of the burden of grief that He was carrying. The term can also speak of the stress that situations can cause with us. The second term, trouble, speaks of a hopelessness, that state when the situation is so bad that we lose any sense of hope. Mathew’s account continues to emphasize the gravity of the situation, “Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death;”” (Matthew 26:38a). I need you to stop and ponder the burden that Jesus was carrying right now. It was so great that he would consider death more attractive rather than face what He is facing. We get a glimpse into this when He prays, “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;”” (Matthew 26:39) Jesus was open to any other solution than the burden He was carrying then.
It is here that we can learn from Jesus’ example. He prayed. Prayer is God’s given prescription for you and I when struck with troubles and sorrows. What did Jesus do on the darkest day in his earthly existence? He prayed. I also need to point out that Jesus prayed three times. It is repeated prayer that provided the strength He needed to face the challenge ahead of Him. Prayer. I would encourage you to read Matthew 26:36-46. The Prophet Isaiah reminds us of the significance of Jesus’ obedience to the Cross. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”(Isaiah 53:5) And here we see that it was prayer that got Him through.
Let me encourage you, when overwhelmed with life, to follow Jesus’ example and pray. The Psalms, many of David’s prayers, remind us of the difference that prayer makes when overcome with life’s troubles and sorrows.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson