“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:7-10
“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:41-44
Jesus offered up these intense prayers—loud cries, tears, sweating drops of blood from emotional distress—to His Father, who could “save him from death.” Because He was sincere, because fear of the Lord and surrender were evident in His desperate prayers, He was heard. Yet you don’t see the response one might expect. Jesus isn’t delivered from the agony of death, abandonment, betrayal, and separation from His Father. God was listening to His cries, and He was not unfeeling. But the Father knew that Jesus had to go to the cross. He had to be our perfect sacrifice. When Jesus’s prayers were heard, an angel was sent to strengthen Him. God was pouring into His precious Son all that He needed to fulfill the Lord’s purposes, for the glory of God and for the salvation of His people.
It was through this act of surrender, “not my will, but yours, be done,” through the intense suffering Christ endured, that He learned all the most difficult aspects of our obedience. Every question, every fear, every hardship—Jesus has experienced it all. He is our “source of eternal salvation,” our help, and our strength. We know He is perfect as our high priest because He knows what it is to obey and surrender at every point in our walk—even to the point of death.
His perfection is not just a sinless purity. It is that He knows fully everything we will face and has overcome it all. He knows what it is to pray in desperation and not have that prayer answered as we hope. He understands the anguish we feel in those moments. So let us draw strength and hope from this: our Savior knows our every need, in an intimate, personal, perfect way. Our prayers are heard, and whatever the answer may be, we can trust that God’s ways are perfect and that in His perfect love and care He will strengthen us for each day.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being our perfect sacrifice, our perfect help, our source of eternal salvation. You have saved us to the uttermost. And You stand, even now, as our intercessor. We know that we can look to You for hope and strength, because You have been there. You understand us in the most personal way. Thank You, Holy God, for drawing near. We treasure Your constant presence in our lives. Strengthen us today to know Your love and trust Your hand.