Learn from the Garden of Gethsamne – Part 2

praying hands by albrecht durer

The Will of Christ

It seems what Jesus wanted was in conflict with God, but this was not the case. We can see that Jesus had a will of his own, who would want to be arrested and killed?

In reference to His will Jesus said in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” All his life He did the Father’s will even though He had a will of His own. When He taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:10 “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus exemplified what He taught with His life and when He was praying in the garden. He was able to do what He taught; He did what He said He was going to do.

Jesus had a choice. In John 12:27 He says to the disciples, “Now my heart is troubled and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” We make choices also, every day. Our desires will deceive us though. Proverbs 14:24 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” We may be created by God and have the Law written on our hearts, but we do not have the ability to make the right choices that lead to righteousness.

Unlike us Jesus’ own will was to do the will of his father even if it was contrary to His own will. In Matthew 26:39 Jesus is prostrate before his Father and says,”…‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” First, this suggests that he was really and truly a man with a will of his own. Second, Jesus’ human will was contingent on the will of the Father even in view of the suffering. Whatever was God’s will Jesus was submissive to it. Pilate saw an innocent man, Matt. 27:14, “…Why, what evil has he done?” Jesus had a free choice to do the will of God.

The story of Jesus in the desert from Matthew 4 also demonstrates this aspect of Jesus’ will. After fasting 40 days I would be hungry and so was Jesus. Even though as a human he was hungry, He was not going to go against the will of the Father. His response to Satan was in verse 4, “—‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  This verse is from Deuteronomy 8 after 40 years in the desert wilderness the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land. Who would want to stay in the hot desert? Many of the Israelites did not want to stay and didn’t listen to God.  All through the 40 years in the desert, God provided the food and water. It was by the word of God that they lived on. They complained often about being in the desert though. In Numbers 16, Korah even brought 250 men against Moses questioning his leadership because they didn’t like being in the desert.  For those who believed in God and lived on his word learned that God was better than their own will.  He had the better plan. Jesus dying on the cross seemed like a bad plan— something that went wrong, but that plan saved the world. Jesus knew that the Father was good and his plan was the best.  Jesus knew God’s greatness and trusted in that.

Jesus placed his own willingness upon the father’s will.  Matthey Herny said about Jesus’ will, “It is true, the cup did not pass from him, for he withdrew that petition, and did not insist upon it…” The only possible way Jesus would avoid the cup is if the Lord willed it. The tremendous sacrifice was necessary for the salvation of man and the glory of God.  When we want something we often sin, that is we want bad things. Bounds who wrote many books on prayer said, “The pressure was so heavy upon him, the cup was so bitter, the burden was so strange an intolerable, that the flesh cried out for relief.  Prostrate, sinking, Sorrowful unto death, he sought to be relieved from that which seemed too heavy to bear. He prayed, however, not in revolt against God’s will, but in that submission to that will…”

There is no reason to believe Jesus might have made the wrong choice. In this story the Hero is always going to win, what’s compelling is not will He save us, but how will He do it.  Jesus was right where He needed to be despite the pain; willingly giving himself up to be crucified.

A Divine Quality: Intimacy

In the New Testament, it is not uncommon to see Jesus praying. Luke 5:19 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Even though He was God, He stilled prayed often. His unique Divinity is seen in his intimate praying relationship with the Father and will also help us to pray.

In Mark 14:36 Jesus starts His prayer saying, “—Abba! Father!—” Abba the Aramaic word for father is a common way young Jewish children addressed their father. Jews did not use this name when speaking to God. Using Abba then was unique and new, Jesus was saying that God was His Father.  Witherington of Asbury Theological Seminary concludes, “The significance of Abba is that Jesus is the initiator of an intimate relationship that was previously unavailable. The question is what kind of person can change the terms of relating to God? What kind of person can initiate a new relationship with God?” Jesus knew that He was the Son of God and His intimacy with the Father made him unlike any other human.

After Adam and Eve were disobedient in Genesis 3:9 God says, “…’Where are you?'”  The intimate connection between man and the Father was lost. They no longer had a relationship with the Lord as before. They lost the connection with God, and they also lost connection with each other. Many of the things we do are about connecting to one another. Facebook, parties, movies, and music are to connect us, but will we find connection if we are on Facebook all day? Or watch movies all day?  Our sin separates us from God and separates us from others. God’s Son, Jesus came to restore this relationship.

Jesus’ intimacy and consistency with the Father sustained him through the overwhelming sorrow.  Pickford said of Jesus’ praying:

Whether it was in the hour of his inauguration into His earthly ministry (Luke 3:21), whether it was in the hour of his selection of the first administration of the early Church (Luke 6:12), whether it was in the hour of human applause , when they sought to make Him King (Matt. 24:23), whether it was in the hour of suffering , as in Gethsemane (Mark 24:32), whether it was in the hour of triumph, as in Calvary (Luke 23:34), our Savior was continually in prayer.

Jesus Christ let his disciples in, Mark 14:34, “‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.’”  When we are overwhelmed it is not in our pride to express our honesty before God or others. Jesus told them to stay and keep watch.   Jesus let them see this personal moment in His life. They had a personal relationship with Him. He wanted the disciples to see and hear His prayers. God wants us to have this intimacy with the Father. Jesus showed that honest prayer with our Father is a good thing. Seeing Christ set the example is able to help all men who are afraid of letting go of pride to have a personal relationship with God.

Obedience and Humility 

Jesus had a Father-Son relationship and His obedience was connected with that. From the very beginning, God asks for obedience from Adam.  Christ came as the second Adam to undo what the first Adam had done. Paul said in Romans 5:19, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous.”

In John 10:17 Jesus explains, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.” John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

Obedience is the test of love, and it is rewarded with intimacy – Oswald Sanders.

The obedience of Christ gave us the possibility to have an intimate relationship with the Father.   “The secret of true obedience is the return to close and continual fellowship with God,” Andrew Murray concludes.

Jesus’ humble obedience also shows His Divinity in contrast to our humanity. Jesus response to all that was going on was to kneel down before the Father in Heaven—often. Isaiah 53:7 says of Christ, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Humanities solution to life is pride, the Humanist Manifesto II states, “No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.” If we must save ourselves there is no hope. Throughout Jesus’ life His humility was shown in His obedience, and is very uncharacteristic of humans. He humbled His will in obedience to Gods will when He prayed in the garden.

Jesus seeing and knowing the price for sin caused him overwhelming sorrow. His response was prayer and our response should be the same. Bounds explained it this way, “When sorrow and the night and desolation of Gethsemane fall in heaviest gloom on us, we ought to submit patiently and tearfully, if need be, but sweetly and resignedly, without tremor, or doubt, to the cup pressed by a Father’s hand to our lips. ‘Not my will but thine be done,’ our broken hearts shall say.”  And from John Strong, “Few of us are destined to live out our days without coming to some crisis in which it will take all the grace of heaven can give to enable us to say, Father, thy will is…good, and acceptable, and perfect.”

So, we must strive to do the will of God in an intimate relationship at all times and through times of pain and suffering.

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