April 06, 2023

Anguish and Love

Luke 22:39-46

Being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

—  Luke 22:44

Praying in anguish, Jesus asked his Father to take away the suffering that he would soon be facing on the cross for our sake. Jesus prayed so earnestly that his sweat fell like drops of blood to the ground. And as he raised his tearful cry to heaven, Jesus’ disciples fell asleep. Yet he said to the Father, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

On that dreadful night, the religious leaders were plotting against Jesus as he prayed in Gethsemane. Led by Judas Iscariot, the temple soldiers marched into the garden to ­arrest Jesus forcefully. But Jesus, now ready to lay down his life for us, proceeded ­willingly.

Jesus knew that on the cross he would take our place, carry the weight of all our sins, and take on the curse that we all deserve so that he could rescue us from sin and death.

Jesus went to the cross not because Judas betrayed him out of greed (Luke 22:1-6), nor because the religious rulers handed him over out of envy, nor even because the Roman governor Pilate sentenced him out of cowardice (Luke 23:1-25; John 11:45-53; 19:1-16). Jesus went to the cross out of love!

Blessed Lord and Savior, we know that what moved you to face the cross for our sake was your eternal love alone. May this love fill our hearts today and move us to serve you faithfully. Amen.

About the author — Hernandes Lopes

Rev. Hernandes Dias Lopes grew up in a Christian home in Brazil. Following his 1981 graduation from Seminário Presbiteriano do Sul in Campinas, Brazil, he served two congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Brazil. In 2000, he earned a doctor of ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Rev. Lopes has been the voice of the television program Verdade e Vida (“Truth and Life”) since 2006. In 2010 he was appointed Portuguese ministry leader for Back to God Ministries International. Rev. Lopes and his wife, Tinha, have two college-age children.

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