Take a moment to become still, aware of God’s presence, and then pray:
Almighty and merciful Father, thank You for so loving the world that You gave Your only begotten Son to become one with us so that we might forever share in Your life and love. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit so that we might hear and obey what You say to us. Amen
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
I write today having just received news of a friend diagnosed with cancer spreading throughout her body. Then, on top of that, my grandchildren’s schools continue the roller coaster of COVID and its aggressive variants. I try to pray; I struggle for words; then I read today’s scripture and feel Jesus’ presence and comfort. I know Jesus understands.
Hebrews 5:7 comes in a portion of the book of Hebrews in which we learn that Jesus is our merciful and faithful high priest. Hebrews tells us that the prerequisite for being a high priest is that “He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness” (Hebrews 5:2). As our high priest, Jesus, in His humanity, understands and feels with us from His own life experience. Jesus suffered and prayed with intensity: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears.”
Jesus’ prayers with loud cries and tears take us to dark Gethsemane, where there was the paroxysm of agony, bloody sweat, and horror-stricken cries. With the full weight of the sins and sorrows of the world coming upon Him, Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus “began to be grieved and agitated” (Matthew 26:37). Then we hear Jesus’ own words in Mark’s Gospel: “I am deeply grieved, even to death” (Mark 14:34). As the powers of darkness and agony came over Jesus, He literally sweat blood (Luke 22:44).
Today’s scripture assures that Jesus feels with us in our struggle and pain. “How near to us Jesus is! Never perhaps in His whole life did He so completely identify Himself with His poor brethren in mankind. For here He comes down to stand by our side not only when we have to encounter pain and misfortune, bereavement and death, but when we are enduring that pain which is beyond all pains, that horror in whose presence the brain reels.” (James Stalker, The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ: A Devotional History of Our Lord’s Passion)
Jesus’ prayerful cries teach us the true heart of prayer. Jesus’ prayer that the Father “save him from death” was “heard because of his reverent submission.” The key to Jesus’ prayers was His submission: “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
In His humanity Jesus taught us, His brothers and sisters, how to pray!
Think back over the past 24 hours and note when you experienced a “high” and a “low”. Share with God how the humanity of Jesus might speak to you in what you experienced.