Then he withdrew from them – about a stone’s throw away. He knelt down and began to pray: (Luke 22:41 DT)What does this indicate?
First, it clearly indicates that Jesus is not the Supreme Being - as prognosticated by so many sectarian teachers now and through the centuries. If Jesus is God, then why would he be praying to God? Is he praying to himself? Is he pretending? Is he being deceptive?
Don't be ridiculous.
Furthermore, Jesus is clearly asking that God's will be done - and not Jesus' will.
Why would God ask Himself not to do His will, but to do His own will? Such a proposition would be nonsensical.
The Supreme Being does not need to ask for anything. He is the boss. The Supreme Being does not need to ask anyone else before he can do something. The Supreme Being is not obliged or obligated to anyone. He does what He pleases because He is the Almighty.
This is a critical point because many people are unclear about God.
Some will say that God is some sort of vague unknown thing - like a borg or monolith.
Others will say that God is a void - or a white light - or nothingness.
Others will say that God is everywhere - and everything.
Still others will say that we are all God but we have forgotten that we are God.
Jesus is showing us by this prayer that none of these speculative concepts about the Supreme Being are true. By the fact that Jesus is praying - together with the content of his prayer - we know that the Supreme Being is a Person. Why?
Only a person can have a will. Someone with a will must be a person. Will is the same as purpose. Purpose can only come from a living being - a living force with the independent ability to form a purpose and will.
Will and purpose can only come from a person with an independent personality. Personality is required because will and purpose are elements that can only be created by a living personality. Someone who is alive, and separate from what can be willed.
This means that God cannot be everything, nor can everything be God. Yes, He created everything, but the act of creation necessitates producing something separate from its creator. The very fact that God has a will - as indicated by Jesus' prayer - means there is a distinction between what God is pleased with and what God isn't pleased with. This means God's will can sometimes not be done by someone.
The very fact that God has a separate will, and someone can choose not to do God's will indicates that everything is not God. It also illustrated that God also granted us the freedom to do His will or not. This freedom is required for there to be love. Love requires the freedom not to love. And since God wanted to share loving relationships, He created living beings with the freedom to do His will or not - and the freedom to love Him or not.
A void or a white light or nothingness - none of these can have a will. Neither can they exchange love. A vague impersonal force cannot have a will, nor can it love or be loved. Again, only a person that exists can have a will, and only a person can exchange love.
And as for everyone being God but have forgotten, such a notion is nonsense. God cannot forget He is God. If He did, He wouldn't be God. God could never be conquered by forgetfulness. Otherwise, forgetfulness would be greater than God - making forgetfulness God. Again, nonsense.
The reality is, those who suggest that God is everything or nothing or all of us - or Jesus - simply do not know the Supreme Being.
In the prayer above, Jesus is asking God that what takes place is what God wants - not what Jesus wants. Why?
Because Jesus knows that God will fulfill Jesus' wishes.
This is what God does with each of us. He allows us to fulfill our wishes. These may end up being mixed with various lessons as we face consequences of previous activities. But basically, God allows us to chase our dreams around even if He knows they will not fulfill us or make us happy.
This is because God wants our love - so He gives us the freedom to choose: The freedom to chase our self-centered dreams around. This is again because love requires the freedom not to love, and God wants our love. He doesn't want robots or slaves.
Jesus' prayer indicates not only that God is a person - with a separate personality: It also indicates that Jesus is feeling that his own will is different from God's will at that moment. Jesus knows God and knows His will. And Jesus knows that at the moment, Jesus is willing something different from God's will.
Why? Why would Jesus feel like this? Isn't Jesus God's representative? Doesn't Jesus do God's will?
Yes, he does. But Jesus doesn't have to do God's will. Jesus has independence - just as we all do - to decide whether we want to do God's will or our own will.
For those who doubt that Jesus was struggling, we only have to read the next verses, such as:
He was struggling and praying very earnestly, and his sweat became like drops of blood falling upon the ground. (Luke 22:44)This clearly indicates that Jesus was intently struggling with the decision. So why would Jesus struggle with his own will versus God's will on this occasion?
We must look at the facts. The fact is, Jesus has pissed off the sectarian Jewish teachers and chief priest because his teachings have revealed these Jewish teachers are not teaching the Truth. Among other things, he said in one of his talks:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." (Matt. 23:13)Truly, Jesus offended the Jewish establishment. These types of statements upset the Jewish teachers and chief priests. It threatened their power over the people.
But Jesus was right. Clearly, these teachers were not representing the Supreme Being. They were not even representing the teachings of Moses and Abraham as they claimed. So they had no business teaching, and misleading people. They were offending God and Jesus was revealing this to the people.
As a result, Jesus was a threat to the Jewish institution, and they wanted to stop him:
But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. (Matt. 12:14)So Jesus knows they are coming after him. The chief priest of the Jewish Temple decided to arrest Jesus and try him with the Romans. He paid Judas to reveal Jesus' location. So the Chief Priest Caiaphas is sending guards to arrest Jesus.
In fact, at the very moment, Jesus is making this prayer to God, these guards are on their way to arrest him.
Did Jesus have to be arrested? No. He could have easily slipped away and avoided being arrested. He could have escaped the guards. He knew they were on their way, and he knew what was going to happen when they arrested him. He knew he would be persecuted.
Jesus could have evaded arrest and left the region in the night. He could have fled to another region and avoided capture. It wasn't like there was the internet and cameras everywhere like there is now. There were plenty of places Jesus could have fled to and avoided capture.
Such an escape would have certainly pleased Caiaphas the Jewish chief priest and others in the sectarian Jewish institution. If Jesus fled the region, they would be able to effectively erase Jesus' teachings from the dialog. His teachings would not be stirring up controversy for the Jewish establishment. The Jewish institution could keep on deceiving people without challenge if Jesus would have just left and gone to another country.
Jesus knows this. He knows that he has to take a stand. He knows that standing up for his teachings, and staying in Jerusalem is pleasing to God, because it will forever show humanity the importance of Jesus' teachings - his teachings of loving devotion to the Supreme Being.
But still, Jesus is wanting to flee. He knows he can escape the guards, and he is communicating in his prayer that he wants to do so. This is why Jesus is struggling. This is why Jesus is asking God to allow God's will to happen. He is asking for the strength to complete what he knows is God's will: To be arrested and stand trial to show the world just how important his teachings are.
By doing this, Jesus is asking the Supreme Being to give him the strength to allow himself to be persecuted on behalf of his teachings. How do we know that Jesus was requesting to be given such strength? We can read this in the very next verse:
Then an angel from the spiritual realm appeared to him and strengthened him. (Luke 22:43 DT)These points clearly indicate that Jesus' strength came from the Supreme Being. Just as his teachings came from the Supreme Being:
"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." (John 12:49)And what was the most important of his teachings - which came from God - which were so critical that Jesus was prepared to die for them?
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)