"During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears. . . ." — Hebrews 5:7
Jesus’ life on earth was not easy, to put it mildly. He didn’t have a home; some people wanted him to be a king; others rejected him as a heretic; one friend betrayed him; another denied him; all his followers abandoned him; and he was publicly crucified as a criminal. What’s more, as he died for our sake, he took upon himself the punishment for all our sin.
Jesus understands our suffering. We read that Jesus prayed passionately “with fervent cries and tears,” which is something many of us have done when facing difficult circumstances. We have pleaded with God to heal our disease, to save our job, to bring our children to faith, to rescue us from imminent danger, to extend a loved one’s life.
How did Jesus pray in his time of need? With reverence and humble submission. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).
Our suffering Savior, who had the divine power to remove himself from the cross, chose to die so that we would have eternal salvation. God answered his prayers by raising Jesus from the dead; his submission translated into our victory.
When we kneel before God—with cries and tears—he listens because of the perfect obedience and sacrifice of Jesus for our sake. And we can echo Jesus’ prayer to the Father: “Not what I will, but what you will.”