This would have halted God’s salvation plan!

29 01 2016

The core of Jesus’ work began with His surrender to the will of the Father.

We cannot possibly fathom how difficult it was for Jesus to contemplate His crucifixion. He knew that the torture would be excruciating, the shame would be unbearable, and the sin of the whole world would be placed on Him. No wonder He agonized in Gethsemane in extended sessions of prayer in which He asked the Father to deliver Him from this horrible series of events. Jesus was in such agony of spirit that He told His disciples,

“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” (Matt. 26:38).

This is why it is so crucial that Jesus finally came to the point of surrendering His will to that of the Father. The core of Jesus’ work began in the garden of Gethsemane where He declared,

“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).

Jesus yielded His will to the way of the cross. His surrender set in motion the entire work of salvation. In fact, the saving work of Christ would not have occurred if He had not come to this place of surrender. If Jesus had not been willing to surrender his instinct for self-preservation to the path of crucifixion, the plan of salvation would have been stopped short of full redemption. We would have had his wise teachings and wonderful miracles, but these would have faded into ancient history. Only as Jesus relinquished his will and uttered “nevertheless” was the prospect of eternal salvation for all nations possible.

Let the cup symbolize this crucial aspect of the gospel cycle, for it was the drinking of the cup of suffering that Jesus had to confront. It could not have been out of any lack of love for sinful humanity that caused the Lord to shrink back from suffering, for we know that is why He came and His deepest desire. The inner turmoil must have resulted from his humanness colliding with His divine mission. His was not a perfunctory prayer, but an extended wrestling. He left the disciples a second time and continued praying.

“O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matt. 26:42).

We cannot possibly conceive of the weightiness of what Jesus faced. Ahead awaited the brutality of the torture, the injustice, the mockery, the abandonment, and finally death. Beyond these physical abuses was the greater burden of His bearing the sins of the whole world. No one today can estimate the transaction of the only perfect man bearing not a few but all the sins of all the world!

“For He [God] made Him who knew no sin [Christ] to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

    1. Event in Jesus’ experience:   Garden of Gethsemane
    2. How Jesus led:    Surrender
    3. Your task:    Follow Jesus in surrender
    4. Key phrase:   “nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:36)
    5. Key verses:    Matt. 16:23-25; Matt. 26:36-46; Heb. 5:7
    6. Symbol:     The Cup

…to be continued

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