He Wasn’t Immune

March 31, 2023

Because of the Covid pandemic, there’s been a lot of discussion about natural immunity. Regardless of where you find yourself in that conversation, that concept is understandable. The basic idea? The person with natural immunity has a kind of in-built resistance to a particular affliction.

That idea, taken in a “spiritual” sense, sometimes comes into play when we think about Jesus. Some Christians act as if Jesus had a kind of spiritual natural immunity to the various internal struggles we all are prone to face. But an honest reading of the Gospels might lead us to a different perspective.

In Mark 1:12-13, reading about Jesus’ temptation, we are told that angels ministered to Him while He was in the wilderness. Apparently, He benefitted from their assistance.

In Luke 9:289–36, when Jesus was on the mount where He was transfigured, Moses and Elijah appeared to Him. The three disciples He had brought with Him were sleeping while Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus. It would seem Moses and Elijah were  there for Jesus’ benefit.

We are told, in Luke 22:43, when Jesus was agonizing in prayer in the garden before His death, that an angel came and strengthened Him. He was helped, in a time of need, by an angel.

And my mind turns to Mark 14:32-42. We read about Jesus’ time of prayer before His crucifixion. My thoughts are captured by what we are told.

Jesus intended to spend time in prayer. Apparently, He felt the need.

Jesus explained that He was deeply grieved to the point of death. He was very distressed and troubled.

And Jesus told the disciples who were nearby that prayer was needed because “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” I don’t think that was merely advice for them; He was speaking about the very real struggle He was facing.

He entered the garden troubled, distressed, and deeply grieved. He left the garden seemingly at peace, settled in heart, willingly stepping into what was coming. But it wasn’t because He had “natural immunity” to the internal troubles and stress we all feel at times.

Jesus cried out to His Father, not simply as an example for us, but because He needed to hear from the Father. Jesus was strengthened by an angel, not to provide us with a sweet mental image, but because He needed what the angel provided.

If we see Jesus in this light, perhaps we will find Him much more the Savior who can sympathize with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). Perhaps we can learn from Him what we could do when we are faced with various trials and troubles–we can draw near to the throne of grace to find grace and mercy in times of need (Hebrews 4:16).


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