Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” … He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” … Then he came to the disciples and said … “the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” Matthew 26:36-46
Three words that changed everything: “Let’s be going.” If Jesus had decided not to go through with the crucifixion then things would be completely different. This site wouldn’t exist. Christianity wouldn’t be around. We would still be under the law code of the Old Testament.
With those three words Jesus committed to going through with God’s plan, despite the unimaginable pain and suffering that would mean for him. He took the punishment we deserved and ransomed our souls. Because of his blood we can come before God having been made righteous. And it all stemmed from a decision in a garden.
Because in Gethsemane it would have been easy for Jesus to say “No.” He knew what was going to unfold. He knew of the suffering to come. He knew of the mockery he would endure. He knew of the agonising death he would go through (a death so painful that when women were crucified they were hung with their face pointing into the cross so that people didn’t have to see the expression of extreme pain on their face). He knew his own followers would deny him. He knew the cross would be misinterpreted and misused throughout history. He knew most would not appreciate what he achieved on the cross. And still he said “Let’s be going.” He didn’t worry about the cost to himself of following God’s plan. He didn’t look out for his own comfort and protection.
And now the focus moves to us. When we hear God calling us to suffer for Him what is our response? Do we say “Let’s be going” and go along with God’s plan, regardless of the cost? Or do we try to ‘do a Jonah’ and run the opposite direction? And probably for us the cost won’t be as extreme as crucifixion (although maybe some of us will be called to give up our life for the sake of the Gospel), but there will still be a cost. Jesus promises us this in John 15: “‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you.”(v20). There will be a cost involved when we say “Not my will but Yours God.” And the question is will we, like Jesus, be willing to accept that cost, or will we care more about our own comfort than God’s plan?
- We're all in this together
- Nailed to the cross