Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. – Luke 22:42
Crises that come one after another move a person from overcoming concentration to deep emotional distress. Such were the crises that began to bombard Jesus as He neared the end of His earthly ministry. It is to our benefit to observe His coping mechanism.
Following Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He faced a tempting crisis when the Greeks desired to embrace His ministry (John 12:20-27). Their acceptance placed before Jesus the choice of going to Athens to be an honored teacher or remaining in Jerusalem to experience the suffering of the Cross. John records that Jesus was troubled in His soul as he faced this crisis: Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again (verses 27 & 28). Jesus surrendered His purpose in life to the purpose of His Father and went on to Jerusalem!
Soon after the Greek crisis, Jesus faced a painful crisis in the Gallery where He celebrated His last Passover with His disciples (John 13:1-30). John records that Jesus was troubled in spirit as He revealed to His disciples that one of them would betray Him (verse 21). After releasing Judas to do his dastardly deed, Jesus declared: Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him (verses 31 & 32). Jesus surrendered His pain of betrayal to the purpose of His Father and chose the joy set before Him!
Immediately following Jesus’ crisis in the Gallery, He faced a crisis in Gethsemane of such emotional despair that it threatened a premature death (Matthew 26:36-46). Matthew records that His soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death (verse 38). Luke records that Jesus was in such agony that his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44). Although He pleaded with His Father to escape what was before Him, He declared: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt (verse 39). Jesus surrendered persuasion through prayer to the purpose of His Father and moved forward as a lamb led to slaughter.
Finally, upon the hill of Golgotha Jesus faced the ultimate crisis of the Cross (Luke 23:33-49). Isaiah prophetically describes Jesus on the cross as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). Surely no crisis ever faced by man produced any greater emotional distraught! When the jeering crowd demanded that Jesus honor His claims of being the Son of God by coming down from the cross, He responded: Father, Into thy hands I commend My spirit (verse 46). Jesus surrendered popularity on earth to the purpose of His Father and gave His body and blood for the sin of the world.
Crisis after crisis, one after another, came at Jesus as He neared the end of His work on earth. But each time, His response was the same – surrender to His Father’s will! Many crises, but one strategy and only one!
Oh that we would embrace Jesus’ strategy in these days of intense crises! Are we willing to surrender our purpose, our pain, our popularity, and even our persuasion through prayer to the purpose of our heavenly Father? Or do tensions mount up while fears and resentments pile one upon another for lack of surrender? May we learn to live a life that is in constant surrender to His will! May we escape the pain of the unsurrendered self!
Christ’s bondservants, Rob and Judy Finley