If Faith Depended On Us...

A reading for Monday, July 21, 2014: Matthew 26:36-46.

Today's lesson is perhaps one of the hardest stories for people of faith to read and appreciate. This is Jesus' hour of need. We read of how our Lord was agitated and grieved. Jesus of Nazareth knows the fate that soon will condemn him, and he feels the full weight of it's burden upon him for perhaps the first time. This is no joyful Jesus going to the cross with a smile and a song as we sometimes might imagine.

Jesus tells the men that are closest to him of his anguish, Peter the rock and James and John. He asks that they pray with him in this his greatest hour of need. Perhaps this is the only time in all of scripture that Jesus asks something so personal of his disciples. Help me carry this burden, Jesus pleads.

How do these devoted disciples answer this plea? With snoring. They sleep while Jesus prays alone against the weight of sin and death. We wonder, do they not understand? Do they not care? Are they simply overwhelmed too? It's painful to acknowledge that when Jesus needed the love and devotion of we his disciples, whom he served until the end, our Lord was to discover that he was truly alone...

And yet the good news of this story is still the faithfulness of Christ Jesus. For even though he was alone, he carried that weight until the end. Each time Jesus prayed, faith was found on his lips. “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Jesus was faithful even when nobody else was. If faith depended on us...

So we are grateful that faith does not depend on us. We too are often found sleeping, unaware and uncaring of the needs that are around us, and yet Jesus remains faithful. We are unable and unwilling to pray when asked to do so, but the "Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words." (Romans 8:26)

If faith depended on us, then the world would be lost. But thanks be to God, faith depends on Jesus Christ and because of God's faithfulness we are saved!


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