March 31, 2021

JD Wilhelm
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 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.”
Matthew 26:36-39

This scene of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane marks a critical moment in the larger narrative of Matthew’s Gospel, because of the consequences of this exact moment. Simply put this is THE deciding moment in the Gospel story. Jesus has repeatedly told the disciples of the necessity of his suffering and now he is faced with the imminent reality of actually suffering. The question driving the plot of this story is will Jesus continue along the path of submission to the Father? 

The focus of Jesus’ life, a life lived in harmony with God’s divine plan for salvation, is inseparable from the death he anticipates. Faced with the looming reality of his death, Jesus desires that God “remove this cup.” What we see in Jesus’ prayer is that even in making this request Jesus affirms that his future is in God’s hands; if Jesus is to avoid his suffering and death, it will only be because God decides to do something else for the realization of His purpose. In this way, Jesus points to both God’s sovereignty and demonstrates his willing obedience to God. Praise the Lord that we have Jesus who sets for us the perfect example of humility and submission.