We are in the middle of the final march to the cross. At this time every year, I join Jesus in the garden as he prays, “Certainly, God, there must be another way.” I do not want for Jesus to face crucifixion. Can’t there be another way? Can’t he just love us to himself? Can’t we hear and receive and believe the Gospel (God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you life) and skip the dying for our sins part? I hate the thought of him going to the cross.
Then I remember the very words of Jesus. “Not my will, Father, but Yours, be done.”
Why would you will that your only son be sacrificed for the likes of us? We do not deserve to be redeemed. Not one of us is good. Why would you die for us?
From the beginning of time you had a plan for our sins to be forgiven. You required that the punishment of death be exacted against the sin that we have no power to resist. It is not enough for us to only receive God’s love. The debt of sin that we have accumulated must be cancelled.
You demonstrated your love in the most dramatic way possible. You took the punishment that we deserved. While we were smack in the middle of our sin-filled lives, you obeyed the voice of the Father and said, “not my will, but Yours, be done.” Even as you asked that there might be another way, you, at the end of it, agreed that the Father’s will must be done.
Instead of wishing that Jesus had not had to die the worst imaginable death, I must embrace the cross.
It is because of the cross that I have forgiveness, there is nothing I could have done for myself. Receiving God’s love gives me new life, but without forgiveness of sin I cannot reconciled to God. The debt of my sin must be paid. This is what Jesus did on the cross.
It started in the garden, when he said to the Father, “not my will, but Yours, be done.” He prayed with such passion that he sweated drops of blood. Of course the human side wanted to avoid death by crucifixion. But at the core of his being, he knew that doing the Father’s will was the only option.
Oh that I might understand the scope of the crucifixion anew. May I not rush past it to get to the resurrection. Might I stop for these days ahead to really ponder what it means to have my sins paid for by my Savior.
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 (NIV)