Matthew 26 : 36 - 39, Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." NKJV
As an instructor of the Bible, I have taught from this portion of scripture many times. Even so, there has always been something that puzzled me about the context of Jesus’ prayer. I’ve often wondered why Jesus prayed to the Father for the “cup of suffering” to pass from Him. Let’s look at a couple of scriptures that further illustrate the point of today’s devotion.
Luke 24 : 46 - 47, Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. NKJV
John 1 : 29, The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! NKJV
We all know from the Word of God that Jesus knew exactly why He was sent to earth. The Old Testament prophets prophesied that the Messiah would come and take away the sins of His people. Jesus also spoke many times during His earthly ministry about the suffering that He would endure and about His death. Nevertheless, we see Him in the garden praying and asking that the cup of suffering pass from Him. Why would He do this, knowing what was at stake for the entire world?
The Lord showed me a truth that is new to me, and I taught it at a recent church service. The sermon dealt with believers learning how to trust God while under a threat from the enemy. This is what the Holy Spirit revealed: When Jesus prayed for the cup of suffering to pass, He was, in fact, establishing “it” as being the will of God. We have to realize just “who” was praying to the Father. This was Jesus, God’s only-begotten Son. God always responded to Jesus’ prayers with great miracles, signs, and wonders. Nevertheless, Jesus received confirmation that He would, indeed, have to partake of the cup and die for His people. Since God didn’t release Him from suffering on the cross, Jesus submitted to God’s will.
If you read the beginning of the scripture for today, you will see that Jesus’ soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. However, when He left the garden of prayer, His soul was comforted and at rest. What changed? Because Jesus prayed and submitted the way that He did, God was able to confirm His will to Jesus and give Him the grace to carry out the Father’s will.
There will be trials that we will have to face as God’s children, and it’s not because we did something wrong or that God is mad at us; they come because it is His will for our lives, in order for us to be made complete. Therefore, the next time you enter a season where your faith is being tried, “go to the garden” and pray. Ask the Father to remove this trial or affliction from your life so that you won’t have to suffer. If God doesn’t remove it after you have prayed, then know that He has another plan in mind, and it requires your FULL cooperation. Consequently, you must do as Jesus and submit to God’s will, not yours.
Don’t worry; once you submit to God and move forward in faith, He will give you the grace both to face and to endure whatever is required of you. In the end, you will be rewarded, and God will be glorified through your obedience. Can I get an “Amen”?
I’m about to Get Happy,
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery