By Benjamin H. Liles
And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. ~ Matthew 14:23, New King James
When I say what I do it has nothing to do with the hit or miss nature I had going on this month. It has been rather hectic considering I have been working also for UPS as a seasonal helper. And it kind of goes along with the point I'm about to make. We all need time alone with those we love. God, since He redeemed us through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus, should always be at the forefront of our lives. He has all priority.
I know. We all have our lives to live. We have families, children, business to attend and the like. But what about those times when we are so tired we need time alone with Him? Does He truly take center stage in your life? I have to admit I don't always have the luxury of making time for Him. He deserves it, however. All those times I need Him and His help, had I given Him a few extra minutes He would have helped me through with far more grace and ease.
I preach a great deal on my blog. Today is a different day as we start to head off into a new year. I felt today's verse was important. Jesus was always about His father's business: healing people, helping them with their faith, extending His love and mercy. He needed time alone with His Father just as we need to spend time with Him. Remember, "Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you" (John 15:4, 7, Holman Christian Standard).
For me, it stands out that not only did the Messiah spend time alone with God the Father, and not only did He do those things He saw the Father doing, but He took the time alone with the Father to reflect on those things He was about to do. Mark tells us, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45, New American Standard). At the end of Jesus' earthly life did He do all the Father commanded Him?
I believe He did. Why else could He claim, before giving up His Spirit, "It is finished" (John 19:30)? All that time alone with the Father helped Jesus prepare for the greatest feat He accomplished. He not only redeemed us from death and Hell, not only saving us from the wrath to come, but He gave us access to the Father we never had before. Look at what He said to the disciples, "But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7, Berean Study).
So, there it is. That's why Jesus spent time alone with the Father when He could. It was so He could offer Himself up on our behalf, standing between God and us, reconciling us to Him. And furthermore, without His being offered up on our behalf, we wouldn't have access to Him through His Spirit. Notice what He calls the Spirit: the Advocate. What does a good defense lawyer do, but to advocate for us on our behalf? Without the Spirit, we have no way of having a prayer life with the Father. Paul wrote, "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26, New American Standard).
Finally, there is the answer for being alone, truly, with the Father and Jesus. When we humble ourselves, telling God how far we are from Him, He will speak to us. He will restore to us our joy. He is our peace; our Salvation, which Jesus provided for us. Our prayer life with Him is a showing of our gratitude, our worship, and praise of all He is, what He has done, and takes the focus off us to Him. It lets Him know He is our Center, our life. Without Him, we can do nothing.
Father, I thank You at all times for giving me the words You have. I am not always strong enough, and to be honest, I'm never strong. I sin. I do it daily, whether small or large. I have unclean lips, and an unclean heart. Help me in my weakness. Be my strength. Help me where I cannot express myself toward You. Show me what it means to live for You. I want to be the kind of sacrifice that shows others my life and love for You. You redeemed and saved me by Jesus' death. Show me the way to go so I can show others the same love You have given me. Your mercy and grace are all I need. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.