Ever been disappointed by God? Prayed long and hard about something and God didn't answer the way you hoped or wanted? Or even felt like there should have been no other response than your way? Your way seemed like the only answer possible? In his message Sunday, Ron talked about this concerning Jesus prayer in the garden in Matt. 26:36-46. When God doesn't respond like we want we have three options: To reject God. To have a tepid, guarded, self protecting response (lukewarm) which is really no better than the first. And finally to say, with Jesus, "Your will be done". A humble response of faith and trust.
What we want to do as we read and study this passage is to hold up Christ and by looking at him and his response, be changed. On Sunday we looked at three things.
First we looked at the agony of Jesus. It is easy to think that what Jesus was agonizing over was the painful death he was about to endure. Certainly that might have been a small part of it, but many had suffered great physical suffering and been able to endure. What Jesus was facing was what he called the "cup". This "cup" was the wrath of God poured out on the sin of mankind represented in Jesus on the cross. But what we really need to see is that it is the broken relationship with the Father that was the ultimate agony for Jesus. He had never been separated from God the Father through all eternity, and now he was facing just that. Separation from God....broken relationship. This was the real agony....a breach in the Godhead. THIS is what caused Jesus to sweat drops of blood. The agony of separation was so intense the capillaries in his forehead broke and blood was mingled with his sweat.
Second we see the submission of Christ. Submission is usually viewed poorly...as weakness. Often it is viewed as forced on someone. In Jesus we see a willing submission to God's will, but he is not afraid to bring his trouble to God. Three times he petitions God to remove the "cup". Isn't there another way? Can't we accomplish this with out the separation? Jesus brings his trouble to the Father and asks. He appeals. He agonizes! Yet God remains silent. No answer is recorded, but what is recorded is that Jesus submitted to what in the end was a 'no' answer. It must be this way. Is. 53:10 Isaiah records God's answer: "it was the will of the Lord to crush him". To bring this separation in the Godhead so that we could enter in through the gap. Jesus became the way into the Godhead for all us who would believe. If he doesn't drink the cup, no one will be saved. So Jesus drinks willingly and heartily.
Finally we look at the glory of Christ. What Matthew brings out here is that Jesus agony and wrestling took place when mankind was at its worst. Asleep. Oblivious to what was going on the disciples slept. Unconcerned. this was a defining moment for Jesus. It was his glory. The glory of Christ is his love for sinners...the asleep. Eph. 1:5 tells us that "in love he predestined us for adoption...". Because of this self sacrificing, awesome love, we are "accepted in the beloved". Even though we were asleep at the wheel. Incredible! This, Paul says in Eph. 1 is all "to the praise of his glory"! No credit to us. Quite the opposite. It's all to his glory!
What we need to see in this is that God didn't answer Jesus' prayer for a very important reason. He said 'no' that day in order to bring about a great salvation...ours! What we need to see in our lives is that God may be saying no today to bring about something better tomorrow.
So...How do we respond? First, worship. Look long and hard at Christ. Gaze at the beauty and power of what he has done for us. Looking steadfastly at him, his agony and submission, will stir faith and grace for whatever life brings you. For whatever answer the Father brings. Secondly, believe in God's goodness and plan. Even and especially when it seems so contrary to yours. Thirdly, receive. Walk in repentance and faith. Trust God's silence, or 'no' answer. Turn from your own selfish desires and trust him. Finally, live a life of submission. "Lord, I don't want MY will, I want yours". I humbly submit, because you are God and I'm not. You know what is best and what will ultimately bring about your best in my life and the lives of those around me, even when it feels painful or shameful. The cross that Jesus bore was both!
Sometimes God does not give us what we want. Sometimes the 'answers' or the silence we get from God seem confusing or frustrating, but God's perfect will is what is important. If we don't get the answer we want its because he has something better in the end.
How will you respond? I submit to you the best thing to do (after waking up!) is to humbly bow your heart in worship and submit to his will. You won't be disappointed.