It was the summer before my son’s freshman year in high school, and he had one request of me: “Mom, can I join the football team?”
Waiting patiently has never been one of my best attributes. My trouble started early on. As a child, I always knew where my mother kept our Christmas gifts hidden, and I made it a point, with great regularity, to spy and peek at the stash. I simply could not wait until Christmas.
For the past several days I have been contemplating the time that Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. I’ve been struck by the words that scripture uses to tell us about the emotions of that evening. I’ve combed through various Bible translations noting these words.
I’ve read through the same account found in Matthew 26:36-46 (below), Luke 22:39-46, and Mark 14:32-52. These passages are filled with words and phrases like these:
- grieved to the point of death
- fell on His face
- overwhelmed with sorrow
- very heavy
- deeply distressed
- being in anguish
- His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground
As Christ petitioned His Heavenly Father for this cup, the cross with its weight of sin, to pass from Him, His response in all three portions of scripture is the same:
- Yet not what I will, but what you will
- Yet not my will, but yours be done
- Yet not as I will, but as you will
- My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.
Soon after, Jesus’ betrayer comes on the scene. Swords are drawn, but Jesus’ response in Matthew: 26:52-54 is this:
52“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
It seems that as each Easter season comes and goes, the Lord allows me to look at the accounts of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection with new eyes, each time, He meets me where I am, addressing my issues, my struggles, and putting them into perspective.
This year Easter reminds me of my Savior’s ultimate desire for the Lord’s will to be accomplished regardless of the cost. The cost was great. Arrest, mockery, physical beating beyond our comprehension, crucifixion, betrayal, abandonment, and death. Greatest of all was the separation from His Father due to the sin that was placed upon Christ. He willfully submitted to all of this because the Father’s will was best.
As I contemplate my life and the decisions that I face, I am left today asking myself this one question:
Is there any part of God’s will that I would be hesitant to accept?
Would I be willing to go where He leads? Would I be willing to stay where I am? Would I be willing to change course, step out of my comfort zone, and allow His perfect will to unfold? Am I willing to wait? Am I willing to accept the Lord’s will for my life?
As I said, the Lord has a way of putting things into their proper perspective. As I contemplate what my Savior endured, as I allow the pain of His experience to truly penetrate my heart, as I realize that His willingness to submit, to suffer, and to die was for me, I am left realizing that anything, simply anything that I must endure in this life is nothing compared to what Christ voluntarily endured for me.
This Easter I am humbled by my Savior’s submission to His Father’s will. I am left in awe of His great love for me. I am moved beyond words as I contemplate the cost involved in bearing the full burden of my sin. Oh, what a great cost for such an undeserving, yet ever so grateful soul! And though my words simply cannot suffice, I thank you Lord Jesus for following your Father’s will.
The Garden of Gethsemane
36 Then Jesus *came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and *said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”
39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then He *came to the disciples and *said to them, “[a]Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”