"Father, into your hands I commit My spirit." Luke 22:46
Principle: Prayer does not prepare a person for a greater work. Prayer is the greatest work.
When Jesus died on the cross, He was in conversation with His Father. His final life breath was a prayer that ushered Him out of this life and into another. The culmination of His life work was His death on the cross. The prayer of His life was to do the Father's will. When He finished His work on the cross, He had been obedient to God's will. His life was a culmination of a consistent conversation and constant communication in order to maintain this amazing cooperative companionship with God.
The resurrection was yet to come. The forty days of ministry that He would carry out on earth to His disciples as the Risen Christ was still out ahead. His ascension was not yet accomplished. Pentecost had not yet provided the Promise of His Spirit. His intercession for His followers at the right hand of the Father was not yet initiated. However, what the world knew of Jesus in the flesh culminated at the cross. At the cross, Jesus sustained His desire to obey His Father's will by maintaining intimate communication with His Father.
His death on the cross was not enough. His blood on the cross was not sufficient. Before the breaking of His body Jesus had to have a yielding of His will. Before the death of Jesus, there had been many brave men who had been crucified by the Romans. Redemption was not purchased soley by the taking of His life. It was a matter of the yielding of His will to take on the sins of people who did not deserve to be forgiven. There was more at stake than what Jesus wanted. God's Son had to be willing to be separated from His Father.
Jesus had been falsely accused, savagely scourged, illegally convicted, summarily condemned, publicly humiliated, and callously crucified. All of these steps had been taken by thousands of other rebels and criminals throughout the Roman empire. The physical extremes of the process was not what Jesus prayed to have removed from Him. He had never been separated from His Father. Jesus did not dread the face of the enemy, but the back of His Father. When God turned his face away from His Son because of the sin of the world, this is the price Jesus paid for redemption. Even at that very moment, He was crying out to God to restore what was broken between them.
Without His death, His birth would have had no meaning or significance. Without His obedience to God's will, there would have been no sacrifice for sin. Sinful man would never have been able to bring an offering worthy enough to purchase his own redemption.
The preparation for the ordeal of the cross was a life of prayer. Prayer kept Jesus yielded to the will of the Father, even though it meant false accusations from man, and complete separation from God. The sinless One began and finished the work of redemption in the climate of prayer.
Christ followers often get weary in well-doing. There may be times when the staunchest prayer warrior is either tired of it, or tired in it. Yet prayer remains the culmination of God's greatest work in the life of His children. Prayer is not a means to an end. Spending time with God in prayer is an end in itself. It is in His Presence that His children become yielded to the Father's will.
The Practice of Prayer: Check your pulse. If you are alive, God isn't finished with you yet. Pray for the strength and stamina to intercede until someone you know has the burden of sin removed from their back, and the freedom from the debt of sin blotted from their account.
Thought for the Day: Jesus gave all He had on the cross for unforgiven people to receive all God had for them. Remember, your redemption was not purchased in a stable, but on a cross. Satan wants you to stop at the sweet smell of hay, and reminisce about the birth of a child. God invites you to look at the cross and breath in the strong smell of blood and remember the cost of your sin. Choose wisely.
"Delays are not denials and it pays to wait on God's time." Samuel Chadwick