Not As I Will…
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Jesus’ early morning (late night) prayer of total submission is so counter-cultural today. We live in an “I want it, now…” world of instant gratification, regardless of the cost to others, or ourselves. We are more concerned about our wants and our perceived needs than about the wants and needs of the other, whoever they might be.
I was riding in the car. We were on our way to a meeting. Traffic had slowed to a crawl. All of us were complaining about the delay, afraid we were going to miss something very important. As we passed by the scene of the accident, there were two ambulances, several police officers, and a fire engine. The conversation was about the “inconvenience” we had suffered, not prayer for those impacted by the accident.
Jesus’ prayer is the opposite of this response. His prayer was that God’s will would be done. His prayer was for the strength to do what was necessary for our salvation, even death on a cross. His prayer was not for himself, it was for us!
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