Leahy states that self-denial characterized Jesus’ life as the Suffering Servant who is obedient to the very end. He presents that Jesus is continually cognizant of his role in the covenant bond of the Trinity and his role in the covenant of grace (with his people)–and so, voluntarily submitted in covenant obedience. Though the Father is silent to the Son’s cries, he is not indifferent. Leahy unfolds the drama of Jesus’ sufferings with a look at the Father’s hand through the aid of an angel, sent to strengthen Jesus. Aided and strengthened, the suffering intensified.
“While our Lord in Gethsemane received no answer to his repeated knocking on heaven’s door, he knew, from that profound silence, that he must drink the awful chalice that the Father had placed in his hands…Again and again he addressed the Father, a word so often on his lips, as ‘my Father’ and ‘my God’. That is covenant language.”
“Christ’s sufferings were an essential part of [the Father’s] satisfaction of divine justice, and the Father was actively involved even when he deprived the Son of the sense of his presence…Initially the presence of the angel must have brought some modicum of comfort to the Sufferer. It came at a moment when unaided human nature could no longer take the strain…For one fleeting moment immense joy must have leaped within Christ’s soul as the Father’s hand touched him. This was a message from home Heaven was behind him. He was forsaken, but not disowned.”
“It is true that Christ preached the gospel, but as R.W. Dale says so well, ‘The real truth is that while He came to preach the Gospel, His chief object in coming was that there might be a Gospel to preach.'”
As I ponder the Lord’s humility in his suffering, I am awed that the Creator would be aided by the created. Indeed, Jesus was fully man for an angel to minister to him. And how much greater the suffering he was to endure if after the comfort of the angel “being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). How often have I asked to be strengthened without consideration of what lies ahead? My strengthening is often wasted in a sense that I am short-sighted in considering its purpose. Jesus was aided for the purpose of suffering. It was not a relief or pause from suffering, but a strengthening to endure to the utmost.