Our minds go to the Garden of Gethsemane. When they left the Upper Room the suffering of Jesus began. One of his disciples would betray him. All but one of the others would desert him. Jesus knew what was coming. The plan of salvation was difficult for him to accomplish.
It’s a tremendous pattern for us to use in our prayers. Jesus used a word I want us to look at. The disciples went to sleep; people are sleeping on God today. When he needed them most, they fell asleep. They were just like us. They had a routine. We have Christianity down to a habit and when called upon to do something for God we sleep. Christianity is more than a habit. The devil wants us in the habit, the routine, so we’ll fall asleep. I want to have oil in my lamp when the bridegroom returns.
Luke 22: 39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
John 18: 10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
Jesus was in agony. It was so hard for him to pray. Every time I read this I feel the heaviness of the Savior. The unimaginable was going to happen. Jesus and Barabbas would be brought out and the people would choose to have Barabbas released instead of Jesus. These were the same people he had helped, yet they turned on him. See how quickly people turn from God. No doubt John and the women were in the crowd. The other disciples dispersed. The voices of the enemies of Christ prevailed. Don’t feel bad if people don’t want to hear what you have to say about God. In a little while One will come with a shout and put all that behind us.
Jesus was under a heavy load. The cup was filled with suffering, death and sin. He saw that for men to be saved someone had to drink the cup. Jesus knew we could not and would be under the curse of eternal death. It had to be Jesus who drank the cup. He knew the awfulness of it. He knew the disciples were asleep. He said Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. He asked if there was another way for this to be done. Was Jesus failing when he asked for it to pass from him? No. He wasn’t having a crisis of faith. He knew how bad our sins would taste. The reality of our own sins in God’s eyes is awful.
Jesus didn’t know sin or death but he tasted it for us. He drank them all. He left no one’s out. He struggled with the battle. He could have told the Father it was too bad. God could have just wiped us off the face of the earth. I’m glad Jesus didn’t give up. Have you ever said it’s too tough to serve God? Jesus is the one who had it rough. We do not. We have no reason to give up because of what Jesus did.
He went back to praying and said one word—nevertheless. We’ve asked God to remove our suffering. We say we can’t take it. Right at that moment we decide if we’ll stick with him or not. Jesus didn’t give up. He stayed on his knees saying nevertheless. If it’s not possible to take it way, if there is no other way, if you can’t honor my request….nevertheless…. not my will, but thine, be done. If it was God’s will for him to suffer so we could have a Savior, then Jesus said let it be done. If the Father said do it, he was willing to do it—to the death, to the grave. Jesus committed himself to acceptance of God’s answer. We need to come to this place.
Jesus told Peter the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? We need to say “Lord, if it’s not your will to take my cup from me, help me drink it. Jesus drank it all and finished the task. Can we be that faithful? Sometimes we ask God for pretty big things. We’re good at telling him what’s good for us. If we give our children everything they asked for, we’d be broke. Jesus knew how bad it would be, but he also knew the end.
The hardest word you’ll say is nevertheless, but it’s the best word. Pray that you’ll always remember how to pray. Pray that your will is God’s will.