Q. I was recently reading about Jesus praying for God to “save him, deliver him” and almost begging. Yet in one of your articles I recently read you mentioned that Jesus had scores of angels at his disposal and all he had to do was call on them and the whole thing would come to an end. In other words, he didn’t have to do this, but he chose to. Yet, in while He was praying to be delivered it seemed like God didn’t answer. What was really going on?
A. From three gospel accounts (Matt. 26:36-47, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:40-46) you can tell that Jesus was pleading to be released from His agreement to die for us if there was any other any other way to redeem us. He knew it was going to be incredibly painful and wanted to confirm with the Father that it was absolutely necessary. Matt. 26:44 says He made this plea three times.
But each time He ended His prayer by saying, “Yet not as I will, but as you will” or words to that effect. We know from the Father’s silence that there was no other way to save us from our sins, and so He went to the cross.
In Matt. 26:53 Jesus rebuked Peter for drawing his sword when the soldiers came to arrest Him, saying that if He asked for them, His Father would put 12 legions of angels at His disposal. A Roman legion consisted of 6,000 soldiers, so many scholars believe Jesus had 72,000 warrior angels awaiting the command to rescue Him.
And From John’s account of the Lord’s arrest, we learn that just the sound of His voice was sufficient to knock the soldiers who came for Him to the ground (John 18:4-6).
These things tell us He could have stopped the ordeal at any time and left us without a Redeemer. But He allowed them to take Him into custody, and He allowed them to do everything that happened afterward.
He didn’t deserve to die. But because He did, we who do deserve to die can now look forward to eternal life with Him. Thank you, Lord Jesus.