The Praying, Agonizing Jesus
New or fresh paradigms give new, different, possibly better answers and
insights for the issues to which they are applied. One sub-paradigm
that is being proposed by the IFISEEUS site is that "God" the Father is
the corpus of unfallen children (humans) in the greater universe, a
universe over which the Originator has delightfully ceded control to
them. Another is that SIN is a wrong concept, a fundamentally wrong
framework or understanding of "God" AND a misunderstanding of who WE
really are and our role in the universe, in the scheme of things.
Jesus is sometimes portrayed in the Gospel accounts as often withdrawing from
earthly human contact and agonizingly praying throughout the night.
Christians assume that he was seeking solace and strength from God to
assuage his loneliness, disappointment and frustration in dealing with
the people, disciples and others, with whom he was interacting. Can we
understand this scenario in another, more appropriate and meaningful way?
In putting myself in that same context, I realize that just being able to
talk to God with clear bilateral communication and just one or a few
sentences and affirming sentiments from this source would buoy my
spirits, and I wouldn't need nor would I continue to "agonize" over the
personal uncertainties of my life and my "faith" for more than a couple
What if we understand what Jesus was doing in a different way?
One foundational presumption, one also made universally by Christians, is
that NEVER before in all time had Jesus and the Father been in this
situation before, where BOTH the fate of the human race AND the life of
the Originator was on the line, was at stake! Was not his cessation as a
person, his "death", his being born as a fleshly baby in the womb of his
earthly mother Mary, his nurturing for some 30 to 35 years was all
designed to be the one great, final apocalypse or revelation of God of
all time that would solve the sin problem? Not a sacrifice to assuage
the demands of a larger than God law, but a revealing, not one that
would ever abrogate, violate or override individual sovereignty or
autonomy, but one that would INSPIRE the needed change of concept, belief and attitude.
With that as the larger context of framework, it is being proposed that
this time was spent in intense discussion about: What should he do and
not do next? Where should he go or not go next? What should he say or
not say, and how should he say it and to whom and not whom? What would
be the most impactful setting? What were the options, the downside and
the upsides? Was his ministry getting overly associated with miracles
that only temporarily assuaged specific individual problems? If so, how
to strike the proper balance?
At this point in this
line of thinking, some would just bail out by "reminding" themselves
that "God" knows the end from the beginning, and doesn't ever need to
discuss a course of action. However, the Bible itself does NOT teach
this, as reflected in the conversations of Moses, Abraham, Jonah, etc.
The questions are legion, but one of the most important would be: What was
he personally quite willing to do and what was he reticent to do? What
role in the discussion did he play other than to be silent and submissive?
this is the correct understanding, never did the Father fail to take
Jesus' own personal and immediate feelings and welfare into
consideration in planning out these approach issues. How to weigh and
consider all of these myriad factors? If I had spent days or even a long
night wrestling with all of this, I would be both depleted by the
endeavor and bolstered by having done due diligence and coming to the
best conclusion along with the counsel of the whole universe!
Can we not see that long sessions of agonizing in prayer with God over whether
he is willing to do good things for us in this life just doesn't make
sense? Or trying to influence him to do the right thing—from our
limited perspective—for the world, the government, our church, our own
personal lives, is a pathetic misunderstanding? Are WE not supposed to
be part of the grand solution of unity of purpose, values and paradigm
of reality, or are we not mature enough to even suggest a thoughtful
course of action? And is not THIS primarily what we should be focused on?