I was unable to escape a pastor’s message on Sunday regarding the great “NO” faced by our Lord in Gethsemane, a place more and more significant to my life.
Luke records these words of Jesus in the Garden: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”1
In a “Getting to Yes2 World” or perhaps now as recommended by our new President, learning the Art of The Deal3, we find ourselves as a nation, far removed from the humility and the love demonstrated by the man Christ Jesus.
Yes, this God became flesh, knowing the agony of the cross, choosing to fully reveal His great love at a time when this cruel art of execution was used by the Romans; meant to discourage any insurrection or tendency toward crime. Ironically, the crime committed by those responsible for the death of Christ perhaps far exceeds that of the criminals that died on each side of the Christ! UHMM, even as I write, I sense perhaps a tinge of bitterness still resides in my own heart, for even after Calvary, it is not “God’s will that any should perish, but that ALL should have eternal life.”4 WOW, what love!
Gethsemane was Jesus, both God and Man getting to “NO”; coming to agreement with Himself as God, and coming to a comfort level as a man with God’s full purpose for His life.
In this case there is greater mystery as to how the decision was made. “God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.”5
Calvary was seen by the religious as a rightful punishment for someone claiming to be God, though He had repeatedly manifest miracles attributable only to God; by others, an act of appeasement to a God angry at His sinful Creation! Perhaps with God, it was seen as the only act of love that we as sinful people would find fitting, thus relieving us of the guilt that our brokenness loads upon our lives? He himself would become flesh; a scape goat bearing our sins in the manner fitting of only the worst of sinners!
Getting to this “NO” was still no easy negotiation for the God-Man, yet humility and love won over through “great sweat drops of blood.”
For those equally “called according to His purposes” our prayer’s answer may not always be “Yes”, or even “Not Now!” “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”6
1 Luke 22:42 NIV
2 Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
by Bruce Patton, William Ury, Roger Fisher.
3 The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump.
4 II Peter 3:9
5 I Peter 1:20 NLT
6 I Peter 4:13 NIV