Talking about Jesus with my daughter, I told her that Jesus was willing to obey God by dying on the cross, but he didn’t want to. I said that to encourage her that she needed to decide to obey even when it was hard. It was a good discussion.
Trouble was, I was later that day in my kitchen, needing to clean something yucky, and thinking, “I don’t really want to do this.” Then I thought of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, saying, “Not my will, but thine.”
I need to remember this more often.
Linda Phillips says
Michelle, Your post caught my attention. The passage of Scripture dealing with Christ in the Garden often has been misunderstood so that now the comment you made to your daughter has become the most commonly understood interpretation. If we would really think about what it would mean for Christ to not want to do something His Father wanted Him to do, we’d realize that would be inconsistent with His nature. My husband has written an article dealing with the interpretation of that passage on his blog. I believe it would be a help to you and your readers.
Linda Phillips says
Michelle, I realized I needed to include the link to the actual article not just the blog address. Here is that link. https://faiththeologyministry.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/gethsemanes-cup/
Linda, Thanks for posting the link to your husbands blog post. I’ve been thinking on it all week! I realized after I posted that I really did need to follow this conversation with my daughter, and my blog post, with some more thoughts. I agree with Gordon that people can make too much of the physical suffering of Christ, and imagine him as weak and uncertain in the hours before his death. This is clearly not what Scripture is teaching. But I’m still not convinced that Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane was answered by God removing the “cup” of which he spoke. Nevertheless, it is enough for me to acknowledge that Jesus learned obedience by the things he suffered (from Hebrews 5:8). I think we all agree that Jesus was aware of the difficulty of his role in becoming sin for us. It was simply this idea that I wanted to convey to my daughter– that Jesus obeyed God, even to the death, even when it was difficult. I referred to the prayer in Gethsemane simply as a means of illustrating that bearing our sins in his body on the cross was not something of little weight or difficulty.
What I wished I had shared with her, and which I did later, was Hebrews 12:2-4
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
What caused Jesus to endure the cross was the joy set before him, and that is likewise our motivation for obedience– putting aside the sin and the weights that so easily beset us. That clarified I think any confusion I might have caused.
Thanks for helping me think through this more carefully! It’s great to hear from you, btw! Hope it’s not too cold yet up there!