Whatever you may think of the movie “The Crucifixion of the Christ” (Mel Gibson), I think the scene at the foot of the cross got a lot right. Looking down from the cross, Jesus sees a vile-looking “humanoid” (Satan) circling through the crowd. The creature’s sneering grin grows deeper as each breath of the Savior becomes more labored. Satan’s ancient plan will soon be realized.
Poetic license? Not so fast. But to find the source text one must leave the gospels and go to the Psalms of David. Psalm 22, the prophetic account of the crucifixion, reads: a band of evil men has encircled me.…”
“Bulls surround me…roaring lions open their mouths wide against me…dogs have surrounded me.…” Horrific. Evil.
The psalm continues, recounting the future prayers of the dying Lamb of God from the cross, “But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword…Rescue me from the mouth of the lions….”
Surely Heaven and Hell met at the cross! In a lesser but very real way the same is true during any crisis. Crisis brings people to their most vulnerable; and that’s where Heaven and Hell rush in but for completely opposite purposes.
Our only weapon to wield, as demonstrated here by Jesus, is prayer which penetrates the veil, touching the heart of the Father and breaking the resolve of the evil one. Prayer – simple, desperate and earnest. Only prayer.
DELIVERANCE SOUGHT THROUGH PRAYER
[PAUL] Three times Paul prayed for God to remove his thorn in the flesh.
[JOSEPH] The Bible records none of Joseph’s prison prayers except those requesting wisdom to interpret dreams, but we know Joseph prayed constantly to be delivered from prison.
[JOB] Job sweetly yielded to God’s will, offering up almost super-human prayers to Him who “gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
James agrees, writing simply, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray…”
All four would affirm that their prayers were answered, though the answers looked different from their requests:
- Jesus still was made sin, but rose in victory, opening the way between God and man.
- Paul was granted sufficient grace…but not healing.
- For years God’s answer to Joseph was not release from prison but favor in the eyes of those in authority over him.
- Job was vindicated before his “comforters,” but his losses were real.
THOUGHT TO PONDER: Is a prayer really answered if the answer looks different from the request?
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.