April 29 PDF Print E-mail
"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him." — Luke 22:43

Thus, though the cup was not taken from him, he was heard, in that he feared, according to the promise: "I have heard thee in a time accepted; and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee." We may be heard, when we are not delivered. We may be succoured in distress, when we are not saved from it. And if the burden be not diminished, yet, if our ability to endure it be increased, the effect is the same. Paul was a proof of this. When he besought the Lord thrice, that the thorn in the flesh might depart from him, the Saviour said, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." And, says David, "In the day that I cried. Thou answeredst me; and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul."

Here we see the humiliation of the Saviour. He who was rich, for our sakes became poor. He was in the form of God, but took upon him the form of a servant. He was Lord of all, but had not where to lay his head, and was relieved by the creatures of his power: "Certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, ministered unto him of their substance." He was the Lord of angels, but he was made a little lower than they, yea, he received assistance from them. "There appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him."

What a contrast is here! His Apostles, who had been so much honoured by him, forsook him. Even Peter, James, and John, who had been admitted to the Transfiguration, and now were selected to be with him in the garden, slumbered and slept. And though, when he came to them, and found them in this condition, he pitied them, and said, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak;" yet he felt it, deeply felt it, and said, "What! could ye not watch with me one hour!" But if earth disowns him, heaven does not. If men abandon him, angels cry with a loud voice. Worthy is the Lamb! "He was seen of angels." One of them announced his approaching conception; another proclaimed his birth; a multitude of them carolled his advent. In his temptation in the wilderness, "behold, angels came and ministered unto him." An angel rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, and said to the women, "Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here." "Come, see the place where the Lord lay." And here an angel appeared unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

He could have asked the Father, and he would have given him twelve legions of angels, and rescued him — what are we saying? One of these would have been sufficient; the least of them could have looked all his adversaries into nothing. But how then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? And how could he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself? Or how could he have sympathised with us, if he had never suffered? The angel, therefore, only strengthened him, reminding him of the joy that was set before him; telling him of the result of his passion — the effect of it in the glory of God, and the salvation of the world; spreading before him the promises, perhaps reading to him the prophecy of Isaiah, "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." Raising him up from the cold ground; supporting his fainting head wiping away the bloody sweat from his dear face, so that he appeared fresh, and fair, and glorious in his visage, and made those who came to apprehend him go backward, and fall to the earth, when he only presented himself, and said, "I am he."

In all things he has the pre-eminence; and how willing are his people to acknowledge it! But while he is the first-born among many brethren, all of them are predestinated to be conformed to him. Angels, therefore, who attended him, attend them also. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister unto them that are the heirs of salvation?" Their attendance is no less real than formerly, though it is no longer visible, according to the principle of the economy under which we live, and which is, to walk by faith, and not by sight. They delight to do the will of their Lord and ours. These blessed beings have no envy, no pride. They are enemies to his enemies; but they are friends to his friends. They rejoice when a sinner repenteth, and carry the dying saint into Abraham's bosom.

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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