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Gospel of Matthew 26: 36-45 (NIV)
36 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.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 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.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
Jesus knew that his hour had come and that death awaited him. He had been preparing for this through the three years of his public ministry yet, in these anguished prayers, he pleaded with the Father for release from his tragic execution.
Did the one who existed long before Abraham was born (John 8: 58), the one who witnessed the faith demonstrated by Abraham as Abraham and Isaac proceeded to conduct the sacrifice required by God*, hope against hope that the Father might have a way out for him as was provided for Abraham?
No doubt this was a time of severe temptation for Jesus. Was there the slightest possibility that Jesus would disobey the Father and succumb to the temptation of the evil one?
Jesus did not fail. He resisted Satan’s guile. He remained totally obedient to the Father despite the cost to his human self.
This presents both a challenge and an example to each of us. Regardless of the circumstances, we are required to remain obedient to our heavenly Father. What may cause us grief in the short term, if it accords with God’s plans, will resound to his glory. Trust and obey, for there is no other way.
*Genesis 22: 8-12 (NIV)
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”