Thursday, April 9, 2009

Passion Week: Thursday

This is the toughest post for me this week. So much could be said about the day before Jesus' death. I encourage you to read what I will not focus on. It's a lot, but read it thinking about the fact that Jesus was to be arrested less than 24 hours later. Amazing. Here are the things Jesus did on Thursday that I'm not commenting on.

Passover Meal and Last Supper
Matthew 26:20-35; Mark 14:17-26; Luke 22:14-30

Upper Room Discourse
John 13:1-17:36

What I want to comment on is Jesus praying in Gethsemane

Mark 14:32-42
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

In all of history there has probably not been a more passionate, desperate prayer. Jesus is literally on the verge of doing what no one else could ever do. Bear the wrath of God.

His prayer is so intense that Luke says that an angel appeared to strengthen him and that his sweat became as drops of blood. Imagine what Jesus was going through inside.

As he prays though, he is not self seeking. See what he prays? "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” I know that anything... ANYTHING is possible for you. So, remove this cup. Yet, not what I will, but what you will.

Was there another way? No. Because this was THE way determined by God. But Jesus, knowing that God could do anything he wanted to, asks. But submits to what God wills... not what God has to do, but what God chooses to do. Jesus submits to God's will rather than his comfort.

Why did God will it to be done this way? Love. Romans 5:8 says that, "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Thank you, Jesus for submitting to the Father's good will. Thank you Father for showing that you love us, the best way you possibly could.

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