And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
Before Jesus would endure the physical suffering you’ve just considered, He would experience emotional and spiritual torment that was far greater. In the garden, the full scope of Jesus' mission became readily apparent. Jesus knew, once He left the garden, all that would occur: the treacherous betrayal by one of His own; being derided and made sport of by soldiers; a circus trial in which guilty politicians proclaimed judgment on an innocent man; brutal beatings; and then, the cross, the bearing of your sin and mine.
Without a doubt, this was the most terrible of missions ever given to an individual. As you imagine the serene garden scene, contemplate the anguish Jesus must have felt; the mental strain as He tried to grapple with His Father's will: "Are you sure this is what You want Me to do?" Take your time; there is no hurry. Allow your thoughts to center on Jesus in His most holy moment. Remember that His anguish was so great, His sweat became like drops of blood.
Next, reflect on the cup set before Him. Throughout the Old Testament, the cup signified God's wrath; it was a symbol of God's judgment against sin from which God makes the rebellious nations drink. Jesus is the only one who ever lived whose sin didn't contribute to that cup, who didn’t deserve to drink God's wrath – and yet, here, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He surrendered to His Father’s will: "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given Me?"
Having considered Christ's obedience, think about your own life mission. Are you in a Garden of Gethsemane moment? Is God calling you to do something you naturally want to resist, but His persistent voice is calling you forward? Following God's will often requires substantial sacrifice.
Is there a sacrifice God is asking you to make, perhaps on behalf of your family, for the sake of a friend, to serve your church? Let our Lord's example guide you to a new commitment to be faithful and obedient to your mission, regardless of the cost.
Lord, thank You for accepting Your mission; now I pray that You will grant me a willing heart to accept mine. I can be so mindful and even resentful of the sacrifices required to love my family, serve in my vocation, be a part of Your family and church, that I forget the glory of Your prayer, "Not My will, but Yours be done." Lord, today, let this be my prayer also. Experience more...