We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.
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.” Matthew 26:39
1. Real Prayers Expressing Hope for the Future. My Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken from me. This prayer of Jesus is almost beyond comprehension. AS God, He knew full well the unavoidable necessity of the cross. It was the whole redemptive purpose, from Genesis to Revelation. Yet this prayer says to us – first, God is our heavenly Father. Go to him when in a dilemma. Second, make your request known to Him. Don’t hold back. Ask and you shall receive. The Luke 18 widow who never stopped asking the judge for relief. And her prayer was answered! And the parable taught us, we should always pray. As fully man, Jesus was devastated – my soul is overwhelmed. And in that state and dilemma, he brought his request back before God the Father.
2. Real Prayers Kneeling in Submission to God’s Will. Yet not as I will, but as you will. Regardless of the dilemma, the confusion, the fear, the doubt, a true disciple kneels at the throne of God and says, not my will but yours be done. Every true saint has the regular course and pattern of, in the midst of a crisis, trusting and leaving the results to God.
Two passages well summarize the lessons of what is true prayer in the Bible.
First, the instruction to lay your request before God:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-5.
Second, to leave the results to God:
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Matthew 6:9-13
We can’t improve on the life and model of Jesus in this third stage of preparation for His suffering and death on the cross. Blessings to you this week. Fourth stage next week.