Why did Jesus pray just before His arrest?

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: I've never really understood Jesus' prayer just before His arrest. It almost sounds like He was begging God to rescue Him so He wouldn't have to die. Am I right? -- Mrs. V.McF.

A: One of the most moving events in the entire Bible took place when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, a secluded area just outside Jerusalem. In hours, He would be betrayed and arrested, and the conflict of the ages between good and evil -- between God and Satan -- would take place. Could it be avoided?

In His prayer, Jesus looked deeply into the "cup" He was about to drink -- that is, the experience He was about to undergo. What did He see in that symbolic "cup"? He saw far more than the physical suffering He would endure -- terrible as that would be. Instead, He saw within it the sins of the entire human race -- and by accepting it, He would be taking upon Himself God's judgment for all those sins. He was without sin -- but He was about to take upon Himself the terrors of death and Hell for us.

No wonder Christ asked God if there was any other way our salvation could be won! No wonder He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me" (Matthew 26:39)! He knew the physical agony of the cross couldn't be compared to the spiritual agony He would experience, bearing the punishment for our sins. But there was no other way our salvation could be won. In anguish we can barely comprehend, Jesus submitted to the will of the Father: "Yet not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39).


Don't ever take lightly what Jesus Christ did on the cross; He gave His life for you. May you give your life to Him in return.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)





Dennis the Menace Drew Sheneman Jimmy Margulies John Cole Blondie Dave Granlund