Obedient Wrestling

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

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.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Matthew 26:36-46

The twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew squeezes twelve hours or more into seventy-five verses. Along with their companion verses in Mark, Luke and John, they preface the most horrific scene in scripture. Yet, they also reveal the humanity of Jesus and his disciples.

It’s easy to forget that Jesus wrestled with God like Moses. The Old Testament leader didn’t want to face Pharaoh again; Jesus didn’t want to face excruciating pain. Both begged God to take their cup. Unlike Moses, Jesus followed God’s plan without any coercion.

But the fact that Jesus cried out to His Father to spare Him the anguish of the cross alleviates my fear of letting God down. Knowing that even my Savior had limits on what He gladly did to serve Yahweh makes me feel better and encourages me to do God’s will regardless of the cost. That doesn’t mean I won’t have the discussion, but seeing Jesus’ struggle makes mine more valid.

The disciples feed my doubting soul too–not that I doubt God, but I often have doubts about myself. I don’t mean to fall asleep when I pray, but it happens. I want to pay attention to the things that cause Jesus grief, yet sometimes I’m oblivious. My humanness sometimes makes me question my faith. On those days when I just want to sleep instead of serve, I remember the disciples. Like them, I get up and push through when Jesus moves, but I used to wonder if my desire to stay in bed some Sunday mornings meant something had gotten in my way in my walk with Christ. Now, I understand, it simply means I’m human and need rest.

We needn’t feel bad when God calls us to something more than we think we can handle. When we wrestle with our call, we look like Moses, Jacob, and Jesus–though I hope I am more like Jesus than the other two. When we grow weary and can’t keep our eyes open as we pray and read scripture, we are in good company. Peter, James, and John had the same problem.

I’m thankful Jesus obeyed. He opened the way for me to meet the Father face to face. But I’m also thankful that He struggled with the thought of the cross and showed me obedient wrestling.

 

About the author

Lynne feels blessed to know Jesus Christ. He's her Savior and her friend, and because of Christ her life is richer. So her passion has become to help others discover their full potential in Jesus so they can have the best life possible!

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