Not as I will

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.””
Matthew 26:39
In the garden of Gethsemane, just before He was betrayed Jesus took time to pray. He could have taken the easy way out. He knew what was coming. He knew the betrayal that was about to occur. He knew the pain He would suffer. He knew He would be branded a liar and a blasphemous deluded fraud. He knew He would be beaten and mocked. He knew the cross loomed near. And yet He prayed “Not as I will, but as you will.”
 
Even at the most darkest of hours Jesus remained fully surrendered to the will of the Father. Even when everything in the flesh was urging that He back out Jesus remained fully surrendered to the will of the Father. Even when Peter attempted fighting, still Jesus remained surrendered to the will of the Father, even taking time to heal the wounded ear of a soldier who had come to arrest Him.
 
Because Jesus prayed “Not as I will, but as you will” the cup did not pass from Him, yet because Jesus prayed “Not as I will, but as you will” the cup has passed from us. Because Jesus remained surrendered to the will of the Father He suffered death on the cross, yet because Jesus remained surrendered to the will of the Father we can have eternal life. He took the punishment we deserved and poured out grace on us, so that we may be restored to relationship with God our Father.
 
There is hope for all of us because Jesus prayed “Not as I will, but as you will.” That is the message of Easter – that when we surrender to the will of God we find hope, we find restoration, we find forgiveness, we find grace and we find life in all its fullness. May we too refuse to live according to our own will, but like Jesus may we pray “Not as I will, but as you will.” May that be our prayer, not just at Easter but all through the rest of our lives.

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