Just prior to his arrest, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives and prayed. This is the most magnificent prayer recorded in Scripture. It is impossible in this column to develop all that He shared with the Heavenly Father that night.  The Cross was to occur the very next day.  One of His own followers would betray him as prophesied one thousand years earlier … “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps 41:9).  He knew that on the Cross He would be separated from the Father as the sins of mankind were heaped upon Him and judged.   Scripture reveals the effects of the impending judgment for sins on His humanity as recorded by Dr. Luke … “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44). The Psalmist had written of the horrors of the Cross of Christ when God [the Father] made him [the Son] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him [the Son] we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus would quote from the Psalms while on that Cross.  “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O, my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer” (Ps 22:1-2). “I am a worm, and not a man, a reproach of men, and despised by the people.  All who see me sneer at me; they mock with the lip” (Ps 22:6-7a).  Because He had learned the Scriptures in His humanity, He knew all that was facing Him the next day. Yet, in that hour of agony He prayed for you and me and all believers who would form His Church.  John records this high priestly prayer in his gospel in which Jesus asks of the Father that the Word of God would continue to go forth … “I do not ask in behalf of these [disciples] alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word” (John 17:20).  Then He prayed that believers would be one in Him and for the indwelling of the Trinity in every Church age Christian… “that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, are in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:21).  Continuing to express His desires to the Father, He prayed that all who place their faith in Him as Savior would share in His glory and be with Him in a resurrection body …"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24). Jesus had encouraged His disciples after that last supper with these words … "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). And not least of all, He prayed that the love of the Father for the Son would be directed to all who would become sons of God through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them" (John 17:26). What wondrous love the Son displayed for us.  In His greatest agony, He had us in His thinking; He prayed for us. Centuries later, Isaac Watts would pen the lyrics of When I Survey the Wondrous Cross -- “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

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