Father: Day 4
"And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” - Luke 22:39-46
Usually when we hear the words “not my will, but yours be done,” we think of it in terms of Jesus wrestling to obey the hard command of God to suffer death on a cross. Sometimes we may even relate it to our own wrestling with God’s will in our lives. But we forget that the Cross is not just the place of the Son’s suffering, but of the Father’s also.
Who can imagine the compassion the Father felt as he heard his Son’s plea for another way? Who can imagine the grief of God as he tells his Son that there is no other way, that he must drink the bitter cup of his own Father’s wrath? So why would God do it? Why would he give up his beloved Son, whom he prized above all things? We may be sure of two things.
First, we can be sure that God did not give up his Son because we deserved his sacrifice. We don’t deserve to be saved from our sins (we got ourselves into them, after all), and we certainly don’t deserve someone as glorious and precious as the Son of God to die to deliver us from those sins. Second, we can be sure that the Father’s love for us, sinners, is far deeper than we have ever imagined. Well does the hymn sing,
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That he would give his only Son
To make a wretch his treasure
It was the Father who so loved the world that he gave up his one and only Son (Jn 3:16). It was the Father’s love for us that caused him to punish his own Son in our place. May we never imagine God as some critical, distant, demanding Father. He is a Father who desires our fellowship, even at great cost to himself. He is a Father who holds not our sins against us but abounds in grace and patience towards us.
This is the Father as Jesus knew him, and this is the Father we are invited to know through Jesus. Let us embrace our Father, who suffered the loss of his Son that he might welcome us as his beloved children. When we say, “Not my will, but thine be done,” let us remember that we are not following the command of a taskmaster but the will of a Father whose love for us is vast beyond all measure.
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This blog is written by the authors of Cypress Press, meant for the creative illustration and application of God's Word.