[In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ] pleads for one hour’s sympathy and assistance from His weak and drowsy followers. Oh, how destitute must He have felt himself! He goes the second time to pray alone, and finds no relief; He returns the second time to His disciples, and finds no sympathy. Human relief fails; God remains His last hope. Moving away once more, He prostrates himself again,— and now the most awful struggle for life begins. And being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly; and in the cool night season, while prostrated on the damp ground, the sweat of anguish breaks out over His whole body and is as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. “And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”
Such, then, was His frame of mind that no ordinary means did suffice to relieve Him; an angel, with an express message and peculiar assurances, must be sent. High and distinguished honor, indeed, to be the bearer of this errand,— an errand before unheard of in heaven! But can you think of anything more fit to impress us with ideas of the most awful— I had almost said unnatural— distress than the need of a messenger from heaven to comfort and strengthen Jesus the Son of God, lest His distress should crush Him?
No doubt it was intended by a holy Providence, and was one of the burdens which Christ had to bear for us, that He suffered destitute of all human consolation. It does seem as though the disciples had been providentially given up to the most stupefying influence of this body of clay to disable them to afford relief to their Master when the unmingled cup of suffering was to be drunk to the bottom.
About the author and the source
“For each of the days, from Ash-Wednesday to Easter Even, a few thoughts are offered, such as might not otherwise come to mind, to assist the spiritual exercises of this sacred season,” wrote Frederic Dan Huntington (1819–1904) in his introduction to Helps to a Holy Lent. Huntington was the first Episcopal bishop of Central New York.
Frederic Dan Huntington. Helps to a Holy Lent. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1872.