Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
What’s the old saying – “Ignorance is Bliss.” It may be true for you and me, but when you’re the Son of God, there’s very little that you don’t know.
Jesus knows what’s about to happen. How he’s going to be betrayed, arrested, tortured, crucified. And not for anything that he’s done, but for the payment and restoration of people to God their Father, creator, maker. And as he makes that payment on the cross for us, God the Father is going to have to turn away from Jesus.
There’s an old hymn that says it so well.
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas my treason, Jesus hath undone thee!
Twas I Lord Jesus, I betrayed Thee, I crucified Thee
And when Jesus takes on our sin, imagine the revolting feeling of coming into contact with all that.
And the weight of rejection that Jesus is going to experience is just crushing. Crushing to the point that he doesn’t just fall down, but he continuously and repeatedly keeps on falling. He falls, gets up, and then falls again. Again and again. This up and down keeps happening.
The same is true with his praying. He was continuously and repeatedly praying. He kept on praying. In the middle of his agony, he didn’t pull stop to have a pity party. Instead, he didn’t stop praying.
Jesus didn’t pray to some nameless god. Someone who might be out there. Someone who he wasn’t related to. No, Jesus prays to his Father. There was a deeply personal, intimate relationship. This was his Father. Not someone else’s Father. He was Jesus Father.
His prayer now crosses the Grand Canyon of life. We want somethings to happen because we think we know best. And since we know more, we’re in the best position to dictate to God the terms of life.
Are we to be the ones who determine how life's to be lived?
Are we to be the ones who demand how life is to be lived?
Are we to be the ones who dictate how life is to lived?
If you look at life realistically, you’ll quickly see that we think, no deeply believe, that we are the only ones who have the right and power to control life. How we act. How we speak. What happens to us and those we love.
You can see this when you drive to any airport. The major highway leading to the airport has a speed limit that’s set for high-speed travel. When you get onto the exit for the airport, the speed limit starts to go down. The closer you get to the airport terminals, the lower the speed limit gets.
Take the Orlando International airport for example. A very modern and efficient airport and one of the top-10 busiest ones in the country. Both of the two major highways with exits for the airport have a 70 MPH speed limit. But once you get onto the access road the airport sits on, the speed limit quick drops to 35. And the speed limit gets even slower as you get closer.
Now I ask you, do people actually slow down as they approach the airport? As they get closer to the terminal, do they change their behavior and speed to match the speed limit? The answer is an absolute no. They hardly slow down at all from the breakneck speeds allowed on the approaching highway.
And why do we do this? The simple answer is that we know best. It doesn’t matter that someone else made the road, studied driving under all different weather conditions. We don’t care about any of that or anyone else. We make the determination, put the pedal-to-the-metal, purposefully ignoring the maker and sustainer of the road.
We want to not only say what has to happen, but how it happens. We want to control both the what and the how.
It’s like that scene in The Crown when Queen Elizabeth dances President Kwame Nkrumah, President of the Republic of Ghana. He accepts but Elizabeth says that there are “terms” for the dance. Once they agree on the terms, they join hands and dance to their delight and that of the crowd.
I’m about to say something that you’re not going to like. Get ready. Here we go.
Life isn’t all about you. Life’s not all about me. Life is a gift from God and we need to treat it like the gift that it is.
It is a gift and God sets the terms. It’s his life to give, and he has the right to set the terms. Jesus understood this and lived under God’s terms. That’s why he prays the words, “if possible.” Are you willing to be that same kind of person in prayer?