In less than 24 hours, Jesus was going to suffer immeasurable physical brutality and a long, excruciating death in naked humiliation hanging on a cross. Jesus was fully aware of this, and even told His disciples, “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Mark 14:34) In the face of all this, Jesus did not run. He prayed: “Father, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)
Jesus wanted to avoid suffering and death – isn’t that what we all want? Jesus knew scripture, He knew that it was God’s will that He suffer these things:
“Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper at His hand.” (Isaiah 53:10)
Jesus was sent to fulfill prophesy – redeem mankind – who was separated from God. As humanly impossible as it seemed, Jesus would not disobey His Heavenly Father.
When we face trials, it is our responsibility to search the scriptures and pray that God’s will be accomplished above our own will – and to face up to the consequences.
Jesus also asked His disciples to keep watch (Mark 14:34). Yet they were very sleepy. When Jesus found them sleeping, He told them, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Mark 14:38) How easy it is to fall into temptation, to lose sight of God’s will in the complexities of life, because our bodies are weak.
We must be alert to diversions and circumstances which lead to confusion, and we must identify areas of temptation and resist them. Then we must pray.
We thereby enter into a cycle of obedience: we pray in God’s will, we keep watch to identify attempts to lead us outside of God’s will, and we resist these attempts… by praying that God’s will be done. (Mark 14:36)