HE FELL ON THE GROUND
By Given O. Blakely
" And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him." (Mark 14:35) (Mark 14:35)
The redemption of humanity required a work of the greatest magnitude. Nothing about it was easy, automatic, or without great effort. Owing to a serious lack of understanding, salvation is sometimes considered with a total disregard for the profound requirements that were fulfilled by the Lord Jesus. He did not enter into this work until He had laid aside the prerogatives of Deity, sheathing the sword of Omnipotence, and emptying Himself. From one point of view, He entered into the work with tremendous disadvantages. Coming into the world as a helpless Babe, He had to grow in both stature and wisdom, having the grace of God upon Him (Lk 2:12,40,52). He would be tempted in all points, just like those He came to save – and must do so "without sin" (Heb 4:15). He would have to "learn obedience by the things which He suffered" (Heb 5:8). He had to live out His adult life in a spiritual straitjacket, "straitened till" His sacrificial death was "accomplished" (Lk 12:50). Saving humanity was not a simplistic mission!
However, no challenge was as great to the Savior as that faced in His death. Death was different for Him. For all other men, death is a Divine appointment: "it is appointed unto men once to die" (Heb 9:27). For the Lord Jesus, death was a commandment. He Himself confessed, "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father" (John 10:18).
The unspeakable weight of Christ's death was not found in death itself, but in the reason for the death, and what was to be accomplished in it. The salvation of the world hinged on this death. In it, God Himself would lay the sins of the world upon Him. His death would be the consequence of what others had done – not to Him, but His God. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa 53:6). In a manner that would be keenly felt by Himself, Jesus "bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Pet 2:24, NKJV).
This was not a mere technicality. His spirit would, in some way, feel the defilement of iniquity, as well as bear the consequences of it. He would be "made sin for us," and "made a curse for us" (2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13). Never before had His essential person been defiled or contaminated in any way. Now, within a brief span of time, the tide of iniquity would rush like a torrent upon Him. He would become responsible for the transgressions of all men, and bear the penalty for them as well. For a season, the darkness of sin would smother the light of His Divinity, as He would bear the curse of the Almighty, becoming sin incarnate.
As the time for His death approached, our Lord "steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem" (Lk 9:51). He would permit nothing to turn Him from His mission, sorrowful though it was. A solid determination gripped His spirit as He began to face the marshaled forces of the powers of darkness. Not only would His Father lay the sins of the world upon Him, the devil and his corps would come like a flood upon him. He had to prepare Himself to fight the battle of the ages. The destiny of everyone who ever had, or ever would have, faith depended on the outcome of this battle. This would be the point at which God, the One offended by sin, would be pleased, and moved to open the door of salvation.
After Jesus had observed the Passover with His disciples, instituting the Lord's supper during the occasion, He took His disciples to a retreat He often visited. It is written, "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives" (14:26). John tells us "Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with His disciples" (John 18:2). It was a place of spiritual seclusion, where fewer worldly intrusions were possible.
On the way to the garden, Jesus told His disciples they would be offended because of Him that very night, and would be scattered (v 27). He also told Peter he would deny Him three times that very night (v 30). Upon arriving at the Gethsemane, He told His disciples, "Sit ye here, while I shall pray." Then He took Peter, James, and John with Him as He went deeper into the garden. We are told "He began to be troubled and deeply distressed," confessing, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death" (v 32-34).
It is at this point that He "fell on the ground, and prayed." He asked His Father "that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him." He confessed, "Father, all things are possible for You," then pled, "Take this cup away from Me" (35-36, NKJV). Nevertheless, Jesus bent His will to the Father saying, "not what I will, but what You will." The battle He was fighting was so fierce that an angel from heaven was dispatched to the scene. Luke tells us that angel appeared, "strengthening Him" (Lk 22:43).
This is the only place of record where Jesus "fell to the ground." He was the Master of every other situation, managing whatever came His way. But in this case, He did not stand and fight, but fell and prayed! It is no doubt true for us as well, that our most fierce battles are fought from a ground position, while we are lay prone before our Father. Yielding to God was not easy for Jesus, and it will not always be easy for you.
PRAYER POINT: Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for providing the means through which I also can realize victory. --GivenB@aol.com