11/23/2016 0 Comments
I like y’all, so I’m going to tell you a secret about myself. Sometimes, God’s sovereignty gets on my nerves. Like…the fact that His will is something that I frankly have no power over (or editing access into) works…my…NERVES. Before you judge me though, & think I’ve walked away from God because I’m spoiled & I didn’t get my way, don’t forget that I’m not alone. God’s will (lowkey) got on His own nerves. Remember Jesus (aka God in the flesh)? Cool dude. He also didn’t enjoy God’s will - did the same thing I did & went to God to give Him a chance to change His mind. However, His will change request ended a little differently than some of mine do (help, Lord lol): nevertheless…
Matthew 26:39 and Mark 14:36 tell the same story from 2 slightly different perspectives. They reveal the story of Jesus, moments before His crucifixion journey began. He takes some of the disciples (that weren’t leaving to betray him *side eye to Judas*) to the Garden of Gethsemane, and tells them to watch and pray while He went to pray alone. The very location of this moment is important and metaphorical, because Gethsemane is an oil press. It’s where olives were crushed so that oil could be produced. You may not be in a physical garden, but I can bet that at some point, you felt like God (or life) was crushing you. We’ve all had moments where the pressing seemed unbearable. However, while the crushing may not be comfortable, it’s not useless (and I’d rather be uncomfortable than useless): the pressing produces your oil. It adds integrity to your ministry. Nothing about Jesus’ life in this moment was comfortable. He’s about to die, He’s alone, there’s no glitz or glamour because the same people that praised Him for His miracles hated Him and literally wanted Him to die. Yet, even He had to be pressed. If Jesus had to be pressed, what makes you think you won’t have to do the same?
Matt. 26:39 says, “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’” Here, Jesus was literally asking for a way out. He fell on His face, and said ‘if there’s any way, I mean ANY OTHER WAY to get this done, we can try that before we do this! Trust me, I won’t be upset.’ Additionally, the term ‘cup’ is a figure of speech for the wrath of God. So, Jesus was essentially saying ‘please…let this situation, let this wrath, let this pain….pass on by.’ He wasn’t simply trying to avoid the pain of the cross (which would be enough to make a lot of people back out of the deal), He wanted to avoid separation from His Father. Yet, before He concluded His prayer, He said “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” The BBE version trades the word will for pleasure; the WEB version says ’desire’. He didn’t like the mission set before Him. He didn’t want it. He knew it wouldn’t be fun. He asked for a way out….didn’t get one (new mission? no?). Yet, He still submitted to the mission. That’s what true submission to God is: submitting to His mission…even when it hurts, and isn’t fun, and is the complete opposite of what you’d prefer.
Mark 14:36 tells the same story in a slightly different way. It says “And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.’” To me, Jesus’ faith in God’s ability to come through for Him is seen clearer. This isn’t just ‘umm….if it’s in any way possible, could we not?’; this is ‘NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU! You can do anything!…including get me out of this. So…could we not?’. It shows us that faith isn’t always supposed to get us out of bad situations, but to get us through them. Furthermore, the term “Abba” is the Aramaic word for father. So “Abba, Father” shows that even in the pressing process, in anticipation of death, Jesus was depending on His Father more than ever.
This scripture is important to me because it shows me that it’s ok to be honest in prayer. Jesus told God that He didn’t to do this. He acknowledged His pain, and the fact that God’s will got on His nerves. He acknowledged the fact that He reallllllly didn’t want this to happen. There’s healing in your honesty because God does in fact care about your pain and how you feel. Don’t fall into the trap and believe that God doesn’t love you because He didn’t do what you wanted when you wanted Him to. Trust me, He doesn’t give you what you want (or your way out, etc.) because He loves you. He’s either keeping you from pain/stress that you didn’t know existed, or guiding you into something better (or both).
Yet, after Jesus acknowledged His pain, He acknowledged God’s purpose, and we should do the same. Paul had a ‘nevertheless’ moment in the scripture we looked at last week. Mary had a ‘nevertheless’ moment in Luke 1:38, soon after she found out that she’d been picked to carry Jesus. So my question today is…what’s yours? Everybody’s got one. Something about God’s will makes us uncomfortable. There’s a press that we’d rather not go through, a sin or a weight that we’d really like to indulge in from time to time (just in like…emergency circumstances lol), a path we’d rather take. However, I’m learning that God is like my mom. I had to respect and obey my mom when what she told me to do was inconvenient. I had to obey my mom when I didn’t really…like her. I had to obey her when we didn’t quite see eye to eye, and the same is true (even more) for my relationship with God. So, let’s make a pact that as we move forward, we’ll be more honest with God. Let’s letHim know when and how it hurts. Let’s acknowledge that we don’t like what He’s doing….BUT let’s always remember to follow up our pain with the acknowledgment of His purpose, and say ‘nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.’ It’s time to submit to the mission, grab on to His strength, and follow Him…even when it hurts.
Background Music: For Your Glory - Bishop Paul Morton, Sr.
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