August 4, 2011

Hard Sayings IV: Yet Not What I Will, But What You Will

"They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:32-42

It is the week of Jesus' arrest and Crucifixion. Jesus and the Disciples arrive on the western slopes of the Olivet at the Garden of Gethsemane (oil press). It is a venue that overlooks the Kidron valley and the Temple in Jerusalem. We see a gut-wrenching and heart-bleeding prayer and plea from Jesus...and we see it followed by absolute (active) obedience. Active obedience which will lead Jesus to passive obedience on the Cross allowing Himself to be made prisoner to the cross by the sins of man and three nails. It is through Jesus' obedience imputed to us that we are saved as Christians since we are not able of producing it perfectly as sinful humans.

"Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Nevermind those knucklehead disciples that couldn't seem to keep it together long enough to say, "Dear Lord, I, I ,I ...Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" before falling asleep. We need to look real close at Jesus here. Something simple but profound can be seen here and it really requires the sinless One to do it to add even more significance and impact to the event. We see the Innocent One just about ready to take on the abuses of His death that He has been predestined and preordained to. But he stops to pray and to seek asylum if it is possible...yet remains perfectly obedient in the face of the coming terror about to be inflicted on Him. Most humans will not be able to understand this nor are they capable and that is exactly why it is included here in the Gospel of Mark. Otherwise no man could truly comprehend it. We see Jesus' intimacy with the Father. We see perfect obedience and therefore perfect humility considering what Jesus was entitled to as the Son of God. No sane human being should've wanted to endure what Jesus was about to. So those that said He doubted God....well, they're foolishness shows and they completely fail to see the overarching theme of servant leadership and the suffering servant. They need to read and understand their Bible better. Jesus pleas...but agrees to the torment if there can be no other way. It is here we see Jesus at His most human (fear, dread) and most divine and holy (sacrificial love, mercy, grace).

What is even more remarkable in this story is the example of a prayer not answered. A great example for all those who have complained that God didn't answer their most heartfelt and meaningful prayers. If God had actually answered Jesus' prayer here as we think He should have by sparing Jesus torture and death...we would all be condemned to seperation from His presence in Hell. Ready for the shocker? The truth is, God did answer this prayer, only he did it after Jesus was resurrected.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Hebrews 5:7

God the Father chose to honor the request but not in the manner preferred by the One praying. Yet He was still heard and God the Father honored Resurrection. The truth is the observers of the spectacle of the Crucifixion mock Christ...

"In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. Matthew 27:41-42

The truth is...had Jesus done what these pious arrogant men had mocked Him for not doing, they themselves would've been condemned. Instead Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. The will of the Father was to put Him to death and then answer Jesus' prayer in the form of Resurrection from the dead. We see the power of the Spirit raise Christ from the grave...forever. Glory is what we see here...GLORY to GOD!According to Scripture a Savior that doesn't die wouldn't have been the Savior outlined and prophesied in the Old Testament. Therefore He would not have been able to save anyone...not even these ignorant hypocritical fools...even if they had repented and asked forgiveness. The evidence that these cranks were clueless is shown by Jesus' grace even in suffering.

"Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”And they divided up his clothes by casting lots." Luke 23:34 

So what does this tell us if we share in Christ's life and His death? It tells us we may need to endure the suffering we pray and seek to avoid for the exact reasons we seek to avoid it. The end result or bigger picture may be more important then our current circumstances and we just can't know that from our vantage point. Thereby to not suffer puts our gain or God's glory at stake. We assume we know what is good for us but many times we are not seeing everything we need to see to be able to come to a correct conclusion. God on the other hand does. We should be thankful He doesn't always give us what we want.

Most likely, you will get through the trial or tribulation you are enduring and you will be much better of for it. If you don't, you'll die. Either way this too for a Christian is gain. God has created a win-win for a believer as Paul stated it.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the
Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Philippians 1:18-23

We are called to endure and be prepared for persecution. No one promised a perfect passage, only a perfect destination. We have a Savior to show us the way, both through the persecution and to the paradise and eternal life that lies beyond the suffering.

Pain is temporary but paradise is eternal for those who believe in Jesus Christ, the One that blazed that trail for us.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...