We have all prayed more than once for something we care about most in life, right? We go to God, asking for help for ourselves or for a loved one. We pray what is on our mind most and what is unresolved. We pray for other concerns as well, but we seem to always circle back around to the same request. In my life, those prayers for help seem to get an answer more quickly when my will yields to the will of the Father. When I let go completely, with hands off, God steps in to do what only God can and will do, according to what is best. But it requires this “knee time” to really hear what God wants, what is best, with His will and perfect plan. God knows what we need most—Him–but we need to let God know we know.
JESUS, OUR EXAMPLE OF PRAYING TO GOD
Jesus, Son of God and Son of man, knows what is about to happen to Him, knows the suffering he is about to undergo, knows the betrayal of Judas to the officials will soon be culminated by a kiss, knows what the rest of the disciples will do, including Peter with John not far behind. And so, Jesus prays, not once, but three times, “if it is possible”, take what is about to happen to me from me. Of course, it was possible for God to change His plan but that would not have accomplished His will for all the sinful lost of the world—including you and me. Jesus knew It was possible for Him to just say the word and ten thousand angels would come to His rescue, but that was not The Plan, not the will of the Father. The Plan was created with Jesus from the beginning of creation. God knew his created would need this plan.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
God gave His Son to save us from our own bad choices. God created us with free will. God gave us the will to choose Him above all—or not. God’s will and passion is that we would choose Him so He can give His best to us—for eternity—for life here and there with Him! God so loved. God loves us still. But a price had to paid for our sin that stands between God and sinful mankind. That price, for our sin to be eradicated so we could come back to God, was Jesus. Jesus prayed for another way but yielded to God’s will, not once, but three times.
THE SOURCES OF JESUS’ AGONY?
The agony could have come from knowing. Have you ever dreaded a medical procedure? You knew exactly what the doctors were going to do before they did it. You knew also that what they did would result in a lot of pain during and after the surgery but they told you it would eventually help you? Multiply that thought a million times over to come close to the agony Jesus must of felt before the beatings, mocking, and the final humiliation of the cross.
The agony came from the heavy load of our sins, the sins of the world, being placed on the Lamb of God as the final sacrifice. Could knowing that God cannot be where sin is, knowing that He who knew no sin would now carry all our sins to the cross, knowing that would separate Him from God until our debt of sin was paid in full, drive Jesus to His knees before God? Sin is ugly, painful, destructive, evil driven, and leads to death. Jesus is about to experience all that sin can do to a human God has created.
The agony of prayer results in resolve with God and His will. What a great example for us to follow. The disciples sleep through the agony. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”, Jesus remarks to his companions. After three prayers and three checks on His disciples, Jesus shows us that He is not only willing to lay down His life for ours, but He is now resolved for His flesh to be torn apart for our sin. I am reminded of their last Passover meal together. “My Body”, “My Blood”. Take, eat and drink is so much more significant with this passage. We hear Jesus say to our hearts, “Take, accept, believe, know, trust, obey with following Me”. But it will always be our choice.
Choose well, my friends.
Matthew—God’s Word Fulfilled
Matthew 26:36-46, NLT
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.
44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
The time has come for us to choose Jesus and get going with following our Savior as Lord!
You are stirring my heart because of thinking about the agony you felt as you prepared your mind, heart, soul and body as the final sacrifice for our sin. There are not enough words of gratitude, relief, love and worship for what you did for all who believe. Thank you for saving my soul. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for continually teaching us. Not my will, but yours, Lord. All day long.
In Jesus Name, Amen