“Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Mt. 26:38-39
“He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Mt. 26:42
Jesus made it very clear throughout His ministry that His purpose was to do the will of His Father. One example is in John 4:34, after He had spoken to the woman at the well He said “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” It was always the intention of Jesus to do the will of His Father, He always wanted to do what the Father wanted Him to do. However, just because He always wanted to do His Father’s will doesn’t mean His will was always consistent with His Father’s will. In the garden we have one illustration when Jesus’ will was different than the will of His Father. We see from the text that this conflict deeply grieved Him and caused Him great stress. In Matthew 26:37 “…and began to be grieved and distressed”, verse 38, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death”, verse 39, “…and He fell on His face”. Coming face to face with the horror and reality of cross moved our Lord to admit His earthly will. He really wanted, if there was any possible way, He wanted a way out. At this moment His will was not His Father’s and it is in this moment that the real test came.
And then we have this passage in Hebrews 5:7-9:
“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation…”.
It was the fact that Jesus yielded His obedience to His Father in the face of suffering that He learned obedience and in this, He was made perfect or complete. The point is that before this experience, as obedient as He was, his obedience was not complete. In order for His obedience to reach its completed end He had to face the will of God, in contrast to His own will, and yet still obey. In this experience Jesus teaches the lesson of true obedience. Obedience to the Father does not come when it is easy or when we agree with the Father or when His will is our will. True obedience is when our will, our flesh is in contrast to God’s will and we submit anyway.
I believe most of us would say that we want to do the will of the Father. Like Jesus, it is our intent, our desire to do His will. But what happens when it is hard or uncomfortable to obey? How often do I rationalize a way out? How often do I convince myself that an “easier” route is OK? Do I obey God up to a point? As long as it “makes sense” or as long as my flesh doesn’t want to violently rebel or as long as I don’t have to sacrifice too much, I’ll obey. Am I finding a way to avoid obedience? True obedience that leads to salvation is that which faces the difficulties, the challenges, the hardships and continues to do the will of the Father. Jesus asks us to learn obedience as He did. I pray that I learn such obedience.