Thursday, April 17, 2014

If I Were Praying the Greatest Prayer in the World

excerpts taken from this Desiring God Holy Week post...

It is Thursday, the night before Jesus’s crucifixion. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prays the greatest prayer in the world. What hung in the balance was the glory of God’s grace and the salvation of the world. The success of Jesus’s mission to earth depended on Jesus’s prayer and the answer given. He prayed with reverence and his request was given. 

I'm trying to put myself in his place and imagine my response if I asked God to take that cup and the angel showed me it was necessary for me to drink of it. I've asked for much less to be taken away and wanted to have a temper tantrum when it didn't. But Jesus in fact chooses to pray two more times and asks for strength to drink the cup. Jesus did not go on praying for the cup to pass. He went on praying for success in drinking it.

"This was the greatest act of obedience that Christ was to perform. He prays for strength and help, that his poor feeble human nature might be supported, that he might not fail in this great trial, that he might not sink and be swallowed up, and his strength so overcome that he should not hold out, and finish the appointed obedience.

He was afraid lest his poor feeble strength should be overcome, and that he should fail in so great a trial, that he should be swallowed up by that death that he was to die, and so should not be saved from death; and therefore he offered up strong crying and tears unto him that was able to strengthen him, and support, and save him from death, that the death he was to suffer might not overcome his love and obedience, but that he might overcome death, and so be saved from it." {Jonathan Edwards}

Evidently, by the time Jesus was done praying in Gethsemane, the Father had not only made clear that there is no other way than the cross, but also that this way would succeed. The Lamb would have the reward of his suffering. When Paul says, of Jesus’s resurrection, “Therefore, God has highly exalted him” (Philippians 2:9), the “therefore” refers to Jesus’s unwavering obedience unto death. God saved Jesus from death because he was obedient. His prayers were answered.

If Jesus had not been obedient unto death, he would have been swallowed up by death forever and there would be no resurrection, no salvation, and no future world filled with the glory of God’s grace and God’s children.

Obedience is the word I take from this. I may not be praying a hard, life changing, it-feels-like-I'll-be-swallowed-up prayer today, but I know it's around the corner. Whether we feel prepared for what God brings us to or not, we are called to obedience. May I be increasingly growing my love for Jesus now, in the not-so-hard days, so that my response is obedience, because of this great love, when He needs me to drink of the cup to fulfill His plan. Yes, Lord. 

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