This is the Way
On the night Jesus was betrayed, He knew what was soon coming. He had watched as one of His Apostles, Judas Iscariot, left the supper early. He knew that Judas was going to lead a group of Roman soldiers back to arrest Him soon, and He would be beaten, mocked, scourged, and crucified.
Jesus told Peter, James, and John, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death" (Matthew 26:38). Until now, in the book of Matthew, Jesus has been shown as incredibly strong and unshakable. But this night, He was grieving, sad, and anxious about what was soon coming.
Jesus took His remaining disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane. There, He told them to watch and pray. Then He went a little farther, fell on His face, and began praying.
(Matthew 26:36–39 NASB) Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."
Jesus didn't want to face what was coming. He basically asked, "Is there any other way we can do this?" Then He said the most difficult and important words ever spoken, "Not as I will, but as You will." This is the way.
Jesus told His disciples to keep watch and pray, but when He returned, they were asleep. They had eaten a big supper, and it was late, dark, and quiet. Sleep was the natural tendency, the path of least resistance. Yet, like us, if they had known what was soon coming, you can bet their eyes would have been open, and they would have been praying like never before.
(Matthew 26:40–42 NASB) And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done."
Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is so weak. Jesus went back and prayed the same words again. Once was not enough, not this night. Once again, He asked His Father that if possible, to be spared from what was coming. Then He prayed those critical words, "Your will be done." This is the way.
It's not about what we want, but about what He wants to come to pass. Too often, our focus is on our own trinity: "Me, myself, and I. What I need, what I want is important. What can our dear gracious Santa Claus who art in Heaven do for me?"
(Matthew 26:43–47 NASB) Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. "Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!" While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people.
Jesus prayed right up to the last moment to prepare Himself for what was coming, and by doing that, He found new strength. The disciples were still napping while the army was marching up the trail to the garden. By the time the disciples realized what was happening, it was too late to go and pray. Jesus was ready and prepared, but all the disciples soon scattered in fear.
There are so many vital points in this story, but for brevity, I will focus on three that stand out to me this morning:
1. The disciples of Jesus were napping with full bellies as they waited on Jesus to return, while an enemy army was coming up the trail behind them. Though Jesus had told them to watch and pray, they were too sleepy to notice until it was too late.
2. When Jesus felt depressed, grieved, saddened, and anxious, He resolved it by going to a quiet place and praying until it left.
3. Jesus was willing to suffer if needed for the will of God to be done. He taught His disciples to pray like this as well:
(Matthew 6:9–10 NASB) "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven."
This is how Jesus lived His life, and we should as well. This is the way. We are to put what He wants first and what we want second. As we take care of His wishes, He automatically takes care of ours. Now, I'm not a prosperity preacher, God is not a piñata, and your giving is not a stick that will make Him explode blessings all over you. But, do I believe that He richly blesses those who are obedient and put Him first in their life? Absolutely!
(Matthew 6:31–34 NASB) "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
(Psalm 37:4 NASB) Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Isaiah 1:19 NKJV) If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land.
What if we were to focus on what He wanted for a change? This is the way. When we let go of our fears and begin to trust Him to take care of us, our lives become better. We can be better than we are. We can rise above our petty squabbles and divisions about what we want to happen. Let us wake up and pray for the Lord to help us recognize the enemy army marching up the hill behind us.
You can pray this with me if you like:
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may Your will be done on the Earth, and in my life, as it is in Heaven. I want what You want. Please give me a clear vision and help me get in tune with what You are doing today. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org