Hope Built on the Greatest Prayer of All (40 Days of Easter Truth #37)
Easter Focus Passage: Luke 22:39-44
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.
40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Easter Truth – DAY THIRTY-SEVEN:
The events that transpired in the Garden of Gethsemane help us gain a better picture of Jesus’ humanity and His divinity. The Mount of Olives is a familiar place to Jesus and His disciples. They had been here many times before and were now at this place once again. Jesus enters the Garden with a heaviness on His heart and a burden on His mind. This heaviness and burden forced Him to kneel down and pray to God the Father.
The cross He was sent to earth to bear was an impending event. If Jesus had never died on the cross, there would be no Easter, no resurrection, and no victory. Yet, in this moment of anguish and pain, we see that Jesus desired another way. He did not want to pass through the way before Him. His humanity becomes evident from the words, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” If He had His way, surely He would not drink this cup. Jesus was like us in that He did not want to experience suffering and pain in this way. But pain and suffering in some manner is inevitable for all of us and it was the same way for Jesus.
Jesus’ humanity is shown in His desire to go in the opposite direction of suffering. His divinity is shown in His willingness to obey the Father. He surrendered to God Almighty when He said, “not my will, but yours be done.” Jesus, who was God wrapped in flesh, gave up His will, gave up what He wanted to do, gave up what was comfortable and easy for Him, all for our sakes. It was God’s will for Jesus to die. It was God’s will for Jesus to walk the path of suffering. In so doing, He became our sin so we could be made righteous.
In our own lives, we will face Gethsemane moments. There will be times when we have to agonize and pray and sweat drops of blood for certain situations and for certain people in our lives. For the child who has gone astray, for the mother who has abandoned her children, for the father who has given up on his family, for the depressed, for the dismayed, for the disappointed, for the sick, for the broken, we too may have to get away to Gethsemane, fall down on our knees, and cry out to God the Father for strength and grace. Just as the angel gave Jesus strength in His dying hour. Jesus will give us strength in our moments of great heartbreak and agonizing grief.
Jesus prayed the greatest prayer that ever could be prayed. And, in a way, He received a wonderful response. He taught His disciples to pray “thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven” and now Jesus Himself was echoing these same words. In being willing to drink the cup of death and travel the road of suffering, He showed us how to travel our own roads of suffering in this life. We too will be given cups that we don’t want to drink. At these times, let us draw close to God, surrender to His plan and purpose, be willing to say like Jesus “not my will, but yours be done”, and receive grace to face our moment of difficulty.
Lord, we are under no delusion that we will ever have to bear a cross as great as Yours but we know that suffering, pain, and heartbreak exist in the world. We also know that this is the way that every person must travel at some point and time in their life. Like You, we will receive cups that we don’t want to drink and situations that we would rather turn away from. But also in these moments, like You, give us grace to say, “not my will, by Yours be done.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.