In difficult times it is easy to lose heart and think prayer is useless, because it is not in our nature to believe in the true God. We would rather not think about the true God because of our sinfulness, but when we believe in gods of our own making, such inventions disappoint. The true God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and He loves us so fervently that He gave His own Son to be the sacrifice for sin. Because He loves us and has promised to hear and answer our prayer in the best possible way, we do not lose heart.
The Lord is at that bittersweet moment in His earthly ministry. Judas has just left to betray Him, and Jesus knows that he will despair and ultimately drop into the eternal condemnation of hell. Yet, at that very moment, Jesus is on the final leg of His journey to the cross, and as He goes to receive the punishment for sin, He goes in the sure knowledge that His work will make manifest the infinite, forgiving love of God for humanity. This bittersweet moment reveals the motivation of God’s plan to declare us righteous for the sake of Jesus’ perfect life and innocent death and to begin the work of making us righteous and fit for the heavenly place by the work of the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament. All this is God’s doing, and this fact gives us courage in the bittersweet moment of this life.