During the time of Jesus’ earthly life, He offered up prayers and supplications, with loud shouts and tears, to the One who was able to save Him from death. He was heard because of His reverent submission (or devotion).
Although He was a son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.
When He had been made complete and perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, since He has been designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
As our source of eternal salvation and also our prime example of how to live this earthly life, Jesus shows us that it is in complete abandonment of our will to the Father’s will that brings about the full and joyful life and reward.
It doesn’t seem as popular to say these days, but our motivation for our pursuit of God must come, at least in part, simply from divine decree and authority (hey, that rhymes!). Jesus has authority over our lives. Everything that was made was made through Him. I’d say that gives Him a say in how we live our lives. Our only real choice then is to submit. To just surrender to Him. And what is so good about that is that we are surrendering to love. For God is love. God is not wrath or judgement, though those may come from Him. But He is love. Surrendering to Him is surrendering to love. (See Surrender to Love by David G. Benner–excellent!)
And the more submitted we are, the more alive we are, for Father knows best.
Jesus is and must be our ultimate inspiration and source of strength from the standpoint that He met every temptation and rode it out to its fullest extent possible because He never gave in. Therefore, He knows just how far every temptation can go and how difficult it is to not give in and what it feels like. We don’t know because we give in so often and, hence, don’t know what it would have felt like to ride it out even further and experience the anguish of it. Nor do we know the reward. Though it’s not like we’re batting .000. Sometimes we do make it through, and I’m sure you do feel the reward of that victory. But if someone’s gonna run a marathon, they best not come to me for advice and training because I can’t tell them what hitting that wall at mile 22 even feels like. Or at mile 20. Or mile 17, or 12…I’m gonna send them to my buddy Todd (Leavell not Fisher!) because he’s run a few of these things. He’s endured to the end and can therefore be a great help to those wanting to run 26.2 miles because he knows what every one of those miles feels like.
In this passage we have an expansion on the anguish Jesus experienced in Gethsemene. He was most likely not sitting proper at a nice boulder, hands folded, gazing peacefully up at the beautiful light in the sky. He was shouting and crying and fighting. It was a true wrestling with what was being asked of Him and not wanting to go through it. (Sometimes it bothers me how many times I read that Jesus was so disturbed at the separation from His Father that was looming, that He wasn’t even that upset about the physical suffering to come. Bull Manure! I’d be so freaked out about the worst kind of death devised by wicked men imaginable at that point! No submission here, I’m telling you. I think He was fighting the physical stuff in addition to the spiritual. He was human and this was gonna suck big time!)
But Jesus submitted His will to the Father’s perfect will. He was submitted to God’s authority, not His own.
Sometimes what’s asked of us is difficult, painful even. But the reward, transformation, metamorphosis in store is beyond what we can probably see or possibly even comprehend right now. Just check out Brother Lawrence, Jean Pierre de Caussade, and Frank Laubach to see what can happen with total submission.
Today you might practice the habit of asking God what He would have you do in every situation before and during. Small prayers like, “Not my will but Yours, Father” or “What would You have me to do/say?” are great little prayers to voice ceaselessly throughout your (His) day.
God is infinitely good and He knows what He’s doing.
In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria