Matthew 26:39-42 New International Version (NIV)
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. “Couldn’t you men 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 flesh 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.”
Forward Thinkers, have you ever had to cry out loud, “oh Lord, what a heck of a week”? “Lord, all kind of stuff is happening to me and it seems like I’m being hit from every angle.” Forward Thinkers, thank God right now that’s not how the story ends because Jesus rises up three days later. And the good news is, so will YOU. The bible says weeping may endure for a night (time of darkness, pain, and suffering) but joy comes in the morning (the sun and the Son will show up).
Forward Thinkers, we see Jesus crying out in pain and many today across this city and country are crying out in pain going through all kinds of trials and tribulations but understand this; as you embrace your journey and allow His will to be done in your life, every trial has an expiration date and every breakthrough has a due date.
Forward Thinkers, the “cup” to which Jesus refers is the suffering He was about to endure. It’s as if Jesus were being handed a cup full of bitterness with the expectation that He drink all of it. When Jesus petitions the Father, “Let this cup pass from me,” He expresses the natural human desire to avoid pain and suffering. To be honest, often on my journey I’ve felt like God had served me a bitter cup but at the same time God has proven to me He was my burden bearer.
Forward Thinkers, often our current situations will battle with our current level of faith.
Jesus is fully God, but He is also fully human. His human nature, though perfect, still struggled with the need to accept the torture and shame that awaited Him; especially for a bunch of ungrateful, disloyal people.
His flesh wanted to renege from the cross. In the same context, Jesus says to His disciples, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mathew 26:41). In praying, “Let this cup pass from me,” Jesus was battling the flesh and its desire for self-preservation and comfort. The struggle was intense: Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” and Luke the physician observed that Jesus was sweating blood (a sign of extreme anguish). Forward Thinkers, if anything shows that Jesus was indeed fully man, this prayer is it. Jesus was giving us a perfect example of how to win while losing.
Jesus knew of what was to come but He was committed to embracing His journey and accepting the will of God to be done. The agony He faced was going to be more than physical; it would be spiritual and emotional, as well. Jesus knew that God’s will was to crush Him, to allow Him to be “pierced for our transgressions” and wounded for our healing (Isaiah 53:5–10). Jesus loves mankind, but His humanity dreaded the pain and sorrow He faced, and it drove Him to ask His Father, “Let this cup pass from me.”
Forward Thinkers, I’m so glad today love kept Jesus on the cross and I’m praising God that love never fails.
Jesus’ prayer to “let this cup pass from me” contains two important qualifications. First, He prays, “If it is possible.” If there was any other way to redeem mankind, Jesus asks to take that other way. But, at some point Forward Thinkers, we have to accept God’s plan that there is no other way. Second, Jesus prays, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus was committed to the will of God, body, mind, and soul and today we must embrace our journey and totally commit to the will of God. The prayer of the righteous is always dependent on the will of God. Remember Paul’s prayer for God to remove the thorn from his flesh 3 times but in the end Paul declared God’s grace is sufficient.
Let’s look at the events of the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry that will lead up to the cross experience. You may call it Holy Week or Passion Week but understand the word passion is a Latin word that means suffering. Also, we must never forget the cross was not a pretty cross but a big old rugged cross. An old Baptist hymn called it the old rugged cross.
On Saturday, Jesus goes to dinner in Bethany and Lazarus, who He raised from the dead a few days earlier shows up to dinner also. Mary also comes to dinner along with the Disciples of Jesus. At the dinner, Mary anoints the feet of Jesus with very expensive oil and the Disciples become upset and declared Mary was wasting her wealth on Jesus. Forward Thinkers, notice how people around you celebrate your celebrations because the Disciples showed their true hand and Judas even began plotting to sell Jesus out at this dinner in Bethany. John 12:2-8
On Palm Sunday, Jesus rides into town on a brand new donkey and the people appear to be celebrating Him and the crowds are shouting “Hosanna, Hosanna Blessed is He”. Forward Thinkers, understand that just because they are cheering for you, don’t mean they are supporting you. The same crowd here cheering will be the same crowds shouting, “Crucify Him” a few days later. Forward Thinkers, I remember the Houston Rockets Head Coach Don Chaney (a Head Black coach in an era where there were not many Black Head Coaches) won Coach of the Year and still got fired half way through the next season. Forward Thinkers, people will have short term memory of your success. John 12:12-18
On Monday, Jesus goes to church to be refreshed only to find the church was operating in an ungodly fashion and the leaders had turned the church into a place of personal profit instead of a house of prayer. Forward Thinkers, Jesus turns over the tables and cleans out temple of its evil practices. After leaving the temple without being spiritual fed, Jesus goes to a fig tree to be physically fed only to find the fig tree had no figs. Jesus rebukes the fig tree for being unproductive. Forward Thinkers, I wonder what does Jesus think of the 21st century church? The church in which Jesus gave birth to is now at odds with Him also.
Forward Thinkers, remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Today is not the story of his lifetime because during his life, most Blacks didn’t treat him well. The truth is as soon as he stopped preaching about dreaming and woke up and started talking about empowering poor people, THEY killed him. Matthew 21:12-19
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Jesus starts to prepare us to beware of all the trouble and hardships that will be coming our way. Jesus tells us to wake up and be alert because things are going to get crazy. Forward Thinkers, Jesus told us a long time ago things would get wild; so Jesus was actually preparing us for police killings, extreme murder rates, Black and Brown girls being kidnapped and forced into human and sex trafficking. Forward Thinkers, America elected Donald Trump as President and we are debating on which restroom someone should be using. Jesus warned us to wake up and get ready to fight for our faith. Mark 13:3-4
On Thursday, Jesus attends another dinner which will become His last supper before being crucified and at this dinner, Jesus has to entertain Judas whom He knows is going to sell Him out and Peter whom He knows is going to deny Him. Forward Thinkers, Jesus is teaching us here how to deal with difficult people. Matthew 26:17-35
Finally, on Friday (Good Friday) Jesus is sold out by Judas, denied by Peter and that cheering crowd is now shouting ,”Crucify Jesus and set the thief free”. Forward Thinkers, life can and will get hard sometimes but we must continue to embrace our journey. Matthew 27:20-23
Forward Thinkers, in conclusion, in Gethsemane, Jesus conquered the flesh and kept it in subjection to the spirit. He did this through earnest prayer and intense, willful submission to God’s plan. It is good to know that, when we face trials, Jesus knows what it’s like to want God’s will and yet not to want it; to act out of love, yet dread the hurt that often results; to desire righteousness and obedience, even when the flesh is screaming out against it. This conflict is not sinful; it is human. Our Savior was “fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God”. He had come “to seek and to save the lost”, and He accomplished His mission, even though it meant drinking the cup of suffering to the bitter end.
Forward Thinkers, Jesus embraced His journey and stayed on the cross so you and I could embrace our journey and walk in God’s will for our lives knowing that God’s desire is to bless us and give us the victory, no matter what it sometimes looks like.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas.
Pastor Deckard is also the Co-Founder of the No More Bloodshed Movement. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at email@example.com, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net