As we celebrate the Easter season we rejoice in what our Savior did for us so long ago. On Good Friday we consider His death and the sorrow Jesus went through for us: the pain and the torture, the rejection and separation. On Resurrection Sunday we marvel again at the empty tomb and the reminder that the power of death was crushed. The time of remembrance renews our faith and builds our joy.
There is a truth that I stumbled upon recently, tied into the Easter events that occurred on the night prior to the Cross. Jesus and his disciples are gathered in the upper room for the Last Supper. We watch as He washes their feet and then breaks the bread. From there, we see Jesus travel to the Mount of Olives, taking Peter, James and John with Him as He goes to pray.
What did Jesus pray for? "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:36, NIV).
What was the response? God, Jesus’ Daddy, said “No”.
Jesus begged and pleaded and scriptures tell us of sweat that fell like ‘drops of blood’ during this intense time. Yet still His Father said “No”.
Having heard the Easter story since I was a child, all of the events are familiar to me and still, each year, I’m hit afresh with the immensity of what Jesus did. The pictures that have been painted of Jesus in the Garden, the pageants we’ve all seen, the films that have depicted Jesus pleading with His Father; these are in my mind as I read this scripture.
We know, because we’ve read the story, that Jesus accepted “the Cup” and did His Father’s will. But somehow the idea that Jesus was human enough to beg His Father not to have Him go through the torturous death is a concept that is not so obvious. As well as the fact that God said “No”.
If we think for a moment, we can only slightly fathom what would happen if God had said, “Yes, I will take it away, My Son. You don’t have to do this.” Would Jesus and His disciples have gone back to the Upper Room and slept for the rest of the night? What then? Where would be the purpose in His coming? What would our world be like today?
We are sometimes so shocked when our Heavenly Father says “No” to one of our requests. “But You know I need this Father, my life would be so much better…”
“But Father, she’s my only child, please don’t let this happen…” “But Father, You know I’d do anything, give You anything, if this circumstance would change…”
There are many honest and heart-felt requests we have all made to God and we are sad when He will not say “Yes” to all of them. He sees a bigger picture than we do. His ways are higher than ours and His reasons often unfathomable. We often don’t understand. Sometimes, later on in life, we will look back on a situation and think, “I’m so glad that God didn’t answer THAT prayer!”
Sometimes, we won’t understand until we get to Heaven why things happen and why God says “No” to some of our requests.
I’m so glad that God said “No” that night in Gethsemane. We can only imagine the darkness the world would be in, if Jesus had not gone to Calvary. Thanks be to God for this Unspeakable Gift!
By Lorraine Walker
First published March 2009 on www.sgmradio.com . Used by permission