Then an angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. —Luke 22:43
At first reading of Luke 22:43, you might think, The pressure’s off! Jesus has been strengthened by an angel. But the next verse says, “Being in anguish, he prayed more fervently, and his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.” The angel didn’t strengthen Jesus to release Him from pressure but to give Him grace and stamina to pray more earnestly while He was in agony.
The Greek word agonia means “a combat, a contest, with an emphasis on the pain and labor of the conflict.” It’s used to refer to the excitement and anxiety produced by tension before a fight.
Jesus knew He was going into combat against hell for our salvation, and He was in great agony facing the pain and labor of the conflict. He was under the stone, pressed down in the oil press.
We will never struggle the way Jesus did, not even in our darkest moments. We cannot fathom the depth of the horrors of what He faced in the olive press of Gethsemane as He contemplated the cross.
Make it Personal
How does the way Jesus viewed sin motivate you to examine your heart or confess your sin?