God As Man - Resurrection 1

"Prayer during the time of pressing is what pivoted Him from the war in the mind to the joy set before Him.

IN THE PRESSING OF OLIVES, there are three stages. The first pressing produces the purest oil, of the highest quality. Pressed further, the second pressing produces oil used for everyday things. It is not as fine as the first pressing but is still functional. Pressing the olives a third time produces oil that is considered worthless. It is not edible and not of much use for anything else.

When Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane, He fought the pressing of His soul. He was God who had been from all eternity, but He had chosen to be born as a man and to live on earth in order to die as the final sacrifice of the Old Covenant and be the blood shed to begin the New Covenant. He told His disciples, “I am not surprised by any of this.” He knew who He was and what lay before Him. But in those moments, in knowing Judas’ betrayal would begin the torture of His flesh, He fought a war in His mind. He was the Christ, the Spirit in Him and upon Him would bring peace and commitment, but He fought the battle just the same.

“And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.” (Matthew 26:37-38)

Depression, anxiety, and fear ravage the people around us. The devil deceives men to think that drugs and alcohol, sexual relationships, and other destructive choices are the way out. Struggling with the mind, we turn to humanistic doctors for help. But a spiritual struggle cannot be solved by physical means. Jesus’ sorrow was only overcome by His submission to God, His Father.

His disciples did not help. Though He bid them to watch with Him, they slept. The first pressing, the second pressing, and the third.

“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39)

This was not His doubt in His Father nor in His strength to push forward but the dedication promised in the Lord’s Prayer. He had taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name (Matthew 6:9).” The word “hallowed” means “to make holy, that is, (ceremonially) purify or consecrate.” To consecrate something is to dedicate it. Jesus, the name of God, was dedicated to the work of God and the words of God prophesied about Him for generations. But as He told His sleeping disciples, moments later, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Minister Rick Renner says this time of dedication, these prayers to His Father, was Jesus’ biggest struggle on earth, that more than the cross and crucifixion, which was horrible indeed, here, in Gethsemane, strength was required which only His Father could provide. For a second time, Jesus went away and prayed, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” And for a second time, returned to see His disciples asleep.

Couldn’t they stay awake an hour? Peter especially could have overcome his prophesied denial of Jesus through dedication to prayer. He didn’t have to give into his mind and his flesh and refuse to admit he’d followed Jesus (Matthew 26:40-41). How often has our slothfulness put us into situations which prayer could have lifted away? Jesus prayed. Peter didn’t. And facing Judas and a great armed multitude, Jesus stood firm. Peter reacted.

“Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:10-11)

Dedicated to His Father’s will, Jesus didn’t flinch then healed the servant’s ear. I wonder where that servant stood in these things afterward. His master, the high priest, had determined to put Jesus to death and even many undeniable miracles wouldn’t stop him, much less this one. But perhaps Malchus saw differently. Perhaps he saw the Christ.

Jesus, as Christ, made an amazing statement then, displaying His strength of character from His prayers. He remonstrated Peter for waving a sword then said, “Don’t you realize that I could call upon my Father and have more than twelve divisions of angels here to fight on my behalf? But if I did that, then how would the Scripture … be fulfilled?” (Matthew 26:53-54, Remedy) I could call for legions of angels, but that would prevent what I came here to do.

Here is our human reaction. We’d go for the angel army. Jesus chose to face the council and say nothing, to face the Roman government and say nothing, to carry the cross to Calvary and give forgiveness to those rejoicing that they’d hung Him there. ”His blood be on us, and on our children,” the people shouted. And it would be, but not in the manner they spoke of. With His shed blood, they could be healed. With His death, their sins were forgiven. With His Resurrection, three days later, they could be His.

Prayer during the time of pressing is what pivoted Him from the war in the mind to the joy set before Him. Angels ministered to Him, the Spirit surrounded Him, and the love of the Father propelled Him forward. Down a rough road, one planned before the foundation of the earth, but one paved with the blood of apostles and prophets. He was not there on His own spiritually nor physically but walking a road written by Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and David and Isaiah and Jeremiah and dozens of others. Who’d also prayed. And now saw their words fulfilled in the footsteps of Christ.

God would do what no man could and show the power of God to rescue the mind when everything in His humanness cried out for deliverance. Jesus leaned into His Father and so should we, for with what He has done, the God who is Greater, who Jesus is, now lives within our heart. He is for us. He is for those around us. And His peace ours forever.

“Peace is my bequest to you, and the peace which I give you is mine to give; I do not give peace as the world gives it. Do not let your heart be distressed, or play the coward.” (John 14:27, Knox)

“Peace with God, and peace of heart and mind, I leave with you; my perfect peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives, expecting to get something in return. No! I give freely, because I love you and want only the best for you. So don’t worry or let your hearts be consumed with fear and doubt.”
(John 14:27, Remedy)

God as Sacrifice
God as Father
God as Resurrected

Image by DONGHWAN KIM from Pixabay

Suzanne D. Williams, Author