Fully aware of the cup of suffering from which He was to drink, Jesus prepared for the ordeal that was ahead of Him with prayer under Gethsemane’s trees. It is interesting to note that while all through His earthly life, Jesus spent several hours in prayer; only this last supplication to the Father is mentioned in detail.
The background for Jesus’ prayer is a troubled soul, longing to unburden itself at the feet of the Father. It is remarkable to note that Jesus specifically called out Peter and the sons of Zebedee, His closest companions to pray with and for Him. Jesus confides to His bosom friends, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”Matthew 26:38
The weary disciples however, snooze away while Jesus moved a little farther, fell on His face, pulled down by sorrow, at the feet of His Father and cried out, “… My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 On the one hand Jesus makes an agonized plea to be spared while on the other; He empties His desire and surrenders to His Father’s will.
Finding no support from His closest chums who are still asleep, Jesus continued to pray the second time saying, “…..My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”Matthew 26:42. Knowing that His Father’s plan of salvation would not unfold unless He drank deep of the cup of suffering, Jesus again voluntarily subjects Himself to the Father’s will. After praying the same prayer just one more time, Jesus awakens His napping disciples and proceeds towards His unjust arrest and trial. …. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8
Jesus was able to brace Himself for what lay ahead after pouring His heart and submitting to God. The Father did not lessen the weight of the cross Jesus had to bear, rather He allowed Him to stagger along, alone on the way of suffering. But, what did that accomplish? Jesus’ obedience at Gethsemane and His total surrender meant salvation for you, me and the entire human race.
Jesus’ obedience proves the power of God that can be unleashed through a life surrendered to the Father’s will. At Gethsemane, Jesus did not hide His longing to be spared from the impending suffering. But the spotless Son of God, though He had every right to demand His desire be fulfilled, humbled Himself, emptied His desire and made space for God’s will to be accomplished in and through Him. Though by no means an easy task, Jesus submitted, wholeheartedly with no remorse. In appreciation for Jesus’ obedience, humility and submission, God has adorned Him with a Name above all else and at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow. What a great honor!
Today, Jesus’ grief-stricken prayer at Gethsemane comes as a reminder. God has an awesome plan for your life, to use you in ways that will glorify Him. But His plan may not be what you want. His desire for you may demand much, it might mean treading through a lonely path of suffering. It might mean losing wealth, position, loved ones and a lot of what tugs at your heart.
Are you willing to empty your desires and make room for God’s will, just as Jesus did at Gethsemane and say, “...not as I will, but as you will? Remember Jesus experienced much more anguish at the cross than what you and I might ever have to face. If only you let God work His will in you, one day soon you will wear a crown and hear Him say, ” Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21