I was blogging last week about Jesus being the model that we should be following in our prayer lives. Yet even though Jesus is our model there was a time when Jesus deeply struggled in surrendering to God’s will for His life. In fact in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus goes through the deepest torture possible. As He is assembled with Peter and James and John they cannot understand what Jesus is experiencing and what He’s going through. We read these words in Mark chapter 14 –“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”, he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch”. Going a little further, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father”, he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will”, (Mark 14:34 – 36 NIV). In this passage we see the Lord Jesus Christ deeply torn between His human nature and His divine surrender to the will of His Father. I don’t believe we have ever been deep enough in the fires of agonizing torrents of sin to know what all this meant to the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus was expressing His desire in this passage that the hour of His separation from His heavenly Father would pass quickly. He knew that the sins of the world have begun to be poured out on His life. Earlier in the evening Jesus had spoken to His heavenly Father as the holy and righteous one (John 17) but when the night was getting colder, darker and the breath of hell was pursuing the Son of God He cries out to His daddy, “Abba, Father”. Abba is the Hebrew for Father. Jesus conveys a sense of intimacy and familiarity that showed His deep relationship with God. I believe the “cup” that Jesus is requesting would pass from Him is the cup of the wages of the world’s sin that have begun to be poured out on His soul. The imputation of all of our sins are now meeting the Lord’s person and He turns in horror to His Father, conscious of the separation that is about to take place. A separation that had never occurred in all of eternity past that was now going to happen on our behalf. Jesus’ soul is filled with a deep anguish as he cries to God that this cup may pass from Him.
But then we see the second part of Jesus request – “yet not what I will, but what you will”. This is the all culminating and all-inclusive desire and petition of Jesus. It’s a summary of Jesus his whole attitude. Our Lord no sooner offered His conditional prayer than He subordinates it to the will of God. Remember Jesus had two distinct wills, a human and a divine will residing in Him. By subjecting His human will to the divine will He was able to bring about our salvation. Over and over again Jesus had prayed that the cup would pass from Him. But the cup of bitterness appointed for Him by the will of God is accepted as Jesus’ supreme desire to do God’s will is fulfilled. In every crisis in our spiritual experience let us remember these words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had a burden and He expressed the desire of His heart and then bowed in adoring submission to His Father’s will. To pray is not to claim unconditionally what we want but to surrender and to submit to God’s will. The supreme purpose of our life should be to know the will of God and to be zealous in surrendering to do that will. We shall find a path for our abiding faith if we are to surrender to God’s perfect will for our lives and prayer is a very important element in finding that path. We need to feel a burden for the needs and souls of those around us and bring them to the Lord in prayer. It is beyond our power to understand the precise nature of the sufferings of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. There is a great mystery that encircles the person of Jesus because of His two natures, which are combined into one being. But one thing that we do know, if the actual son of God needed a dependent prayer life to fulfill God’s will how much more do we His adopted sons and daughters need lives of prayer. Jesus began each day with prayer, shouldn’t we? Jesus prayed before making important decisions, shouldn’t we? Jesus prayed in order to give God praise for what He’s done, shouldn’t we? And Jesus prayed at the most critical hour of need in His life, shouldn’t we? “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. Let us consider carefully the sacrifice that Jesus has made for each of us.
Pastor Rich Sivo