The Lord’s Prayer: Thy will be done.
Read Matthew 26:36-46
“Yet not as I will, but as You will.”
Perhaps no other passage reveals the humanity of Christ more than the record of his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of the great mysteries of scripture is the teaching that Christ, who was fully God and part of the triune Godhead, condescended and took on the form and nature of humanity. In Christ, we find one who was fully God in every aspect, but also one who was fully human, possessing within himself the fullness of our human nature (see Philippians 2:5-11). This union did not diminish his deity in any way. However, being fully human meant that he experienced all the emotions and feelings that are an expression of our humanity. But not only did he face the full weight of his humanity in his physical body, but also in his spiritual life as well. As one who was fully human, he experienced temptation, and the temptation was real and intense. Even though he was fully God, and as God could not sin, the fact that he was also fully human meant that he could be fully tempted in all points even as we are (see Matthew 4:1-11 and Hebrews 4:15). Consequently, within his human nature, he experienced the full intensity and weight of the death that lay before him and the temptation to flee from it. But the trauma was more than just the knowledge of the physical pain he would experience, it was also the knowledge that he would experience the infinite wrath of God’s justice as he bore the penalty of our sin. We cannot even begin to understand or relate to the depth of the suffering and distress he would experience. The weight of what lay before him would have been overwhelming to the human nature of Christ. Luke gives a further glimpse into the stress Christ experienced when he states that Christ’s agony was so great that his “sweat became like drops of blood.”
Even though, in his humanity, Christ was experiencing the temptation to flee from what lay before him, he also affirms his complete obedience to the Father. In this, Christ became an example for us regarding what it means to pray “thy will be done.” It is one thing to pray that prayer in the comfort of our homes when life is going well, it is quite another to make this our prayer when God is leading us into a time of severe trial and testing. We are willing to follow God’s will when he promises “to make our paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6) and enable us to “mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:29-31). But we are far more reluctant to pray this if it involves God leading us through times of pain and sorrow. We are willing to follow his will when it parallels our plans but we find it difficult when it requires us to give up our plans. Perhaps the hardest thing to do is to surrender to God are our dreams and goals.
In his response, Christ becomes our example. As abhorrent as he found the cross confronting him, he reaffirmed his willingness to do whatever the will of God required. Prayer involves both honesty before God regarding our desires and wishes and the submission to his will even with it contradicts these hopes. When we pray it would be arrogant to pray anything without adding “if it be your will.” When we pray, our request should not be for what we want, but to ask God to fulfill his will in us. To pray this prayer is to acquiesce our will to his, no matter what the cost might be to our personal comfort or dreams. Today ask God to accomplish his will in you in every area of your life.