As we enter into the time of year when many will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, I wanted to urge you to consider more closely the events that led up to the day we celebrate called Easter.
The specific event that I am referencing is when Jesus took his disciples to Gethsemane to pray. He told the men who were closest to him that his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow, and he asked them to keep watch with him (Matthew 26:38).
After instructing his disciples to watch, Jesus went a little farther where he diligently prayed to the Father. The passion of his prayer is evident as one of the Gospels records that he fell with his face to the ground as he prayed (Matthew 26:39). Another records that during this time of prayer, he was so anguished that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44).
The words that he prayed three different times, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). In between these desperate pleas, Jesus would return to his disciples to find them sleeping and unable to fulfill his request to watch and pray with him.
At this moment in time, Jesus was in the flesh, subject to all human physical and emotional pain as he walked out the unusual and cruel destiny he was born to experience. While the disciples slept, he understood clearly the price he was about to pay for you and me, and with that divine understanding, he pled with his Father to take this cup from him.
We often think about the horrific physical torture and suffering Jesus bore for us as he was beaten to the point he was unrecognizable. We remember the crown of thorns that was pressed deep into his head, the heavy cross he was forced to carry, the nails that were driven through his hands and feet, and the spear that was thrust into his side.
We may even think about the emotion pain Jesus was subjected to, as he was mocked and ridiculed and even spit upon. The grief he must have felt as some of his closest friends rejected him when he refused to defend himself even though he was totally innocent.
Instead of only remembering these events, take a moment to go back to Gethsemane. This was the pivotal moment where we see the anguish of a decision. “Take the cup!” Jesus pled. Yet, what comes next shows his obedient character, “Not my will but yours be done!” What a significant decision Jesus made in that moment. One that forever impacted the eternity of all mankind. Jesus made the decision to walk out his destiny, which was that he was born to die! He came to this earth in human form to pay the price for our sins, to become the perfect sacrifice that provides each of us the opportunity for eternal life.
If you know the rest of the story, after Jesus suffered and died for us, he was placed in a tomb. He wasn’t there long because three days later he was resurrected, and not long after ascended back to heaven. That same power that raised Christ from the dead is now at work in us who believe in him!
Ephesians 1:19-22; 2:4-7 NLT
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
This weekend as we give thanks for our Lord’s great sacrifice and celebrate his resurrection; may we also remember Gethsemane. Can we learn from Jesus’ example to pray, “Not my will, but yours be done!” Let us choose to follow our Savior’s lead and walk out our God-given destiny no matter the cost, accessing that mighty power that is available to us because he was willing to take this cup.