August 20, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:39
This was an incredibly dark hour in the life of Jesus. Alone in the Garden of Gethsemane, prostrate before the Father with the sins of the world, past, present, and future starkly pressed upon Him, He pours out His very soul to the Father. Was He asking that this "cup of bitterness" be taken from Him? No, it was for this that He came into the world. "Then He said, Here I am, I have come to do thy will" (Hebrews 10:9).
Even those closest to Him, whom He bid to watch and pray, were found sleeping and unconcerned. Even His words to His disciples..."My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death"...didn't seem to register with Peter, James, and John. They did not discern the heaviness of the heart of Jesus. Three times He finds them yielding to the weakness of the flesh, rather than to faithfully "watch and pray." "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." All but overwhelmed with the agony of His soul, shedding as it were great drops of blood, He takes His place to do the complete and perfect will of the Father.
"NEVERTHELESS"...What tremendous weight hangs on this word. It was a time when He drank the bitter dregs of that cup of sin for all of us, obeying without any constraint to do the will of the Father. He was willing to take that place between heaven and earth to bridge the chasm that sin had imposed. No one else could offer to the Father the vicarious sacrifice God's holiness and justice demanded. Mankind had never encountered an hour such as this. This was a divine encounter with God the Father that only the Son could embrace, and that He did.
"NEVERTHELESS"...There was no doubt in His mind as to what He now must do. We cannot conceive the enormity of this hour as Jesus bowed before the Father. He flinched not, but willingly took the path of condemnation, scorn, hate, rejection, and bitterness that man poured out on Him, and bore our sin on the cross. It was all before Him as He prayed to the Father..."Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."
Where do we find ourselves amid such an agonizing moment as this? Do we simply give humble reverence...or does it make an indelible impression upon us. The passion of Christ stood at the crossroads. His condescending heart of love was made bare and proved He would not turn from obeying fully the will of the Father.
How striking are the words of Charles Wesley..."Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, should die for me?" Nothing exceeds the wretchedness of man's sin except the infinite love of God, and His Son who gave Himself a ransom for our sin. "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin [a sin offering] for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This was the prelude of His crowning moment, when He made atonement for us on the cross. No more ignominious scene in the history of the world...yet no more glorious one! May we, faced with whatever life places before us, say with Jesus..." NEVERTHELESS...not as I will, but as you will."
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-08-20
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