“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44, NIV84)
In one of his books C.S. Lewis talks about temptation with a clarity I will never forget. He talks about how Jesus underwent temptation just like you and me. He faced demonic temptations throughout His life. Lewis admits it is tough for us to relate to Jesus being tempted. We will readily acknowledge that He was tempted, but we have difficulty seeing Jesus’ temptation as equal to our own. Most Christians think Jesus was not tempted nearly to the degree that we are. To this, C.S. Lewis adds the following thought: the exact opposite is true. Lewis says that we have never been tempted to the degree that Jesus has. How does he conclude that? He goes on to say that only Jesus took everything that Satan could dish out. Jesus took 100% of the tempting force of Satan and prevailed. He began to sweat blood in the garden as He was praying. He did not sin. But you and me? Lewis says that, we, too, quickly fall into temptation. When was the last time we sweated blood because we were resisting temptation so strongly? None of us has faced 100% of what Satan has to offer. We have each crumbled before it has gotten that intense.
So, C.S. Lewis asserts that in Jesus we have the perfect Savior. We have one who was tempted beyond what we can imagine and prevailed. We have a Savior who can relate to our weakness and brokenness. In Jesus, we also have the example as to how temptation is to be fought. Jesus used the Word of God and prayer when He dealt with Satan, and so should we. We need to be firmly rooted into God’s Word. We need to be praying continuously, as Paul tells us. I pray that we never have to bear agony like Jesus did in order to resist temptation. I pray that as we submit to God in word and prayer, Satan will flee from us. (James 4:7)
May the scene of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane provide us comfort, hope, and security in our Savior Jesus.