7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
The Garden must have been a gruesome ordeal for Jesus. All His life, He had done what His Father had wanted Him to do. He said so on numerous occasions. His mission was to show us the father and He did so with compassion and grace. For three years, he healed every sick, lame, blind, dumb and deaf person that came to Him. Constantly “He healed them all” appears in the word. He taught us great lessons that have and will endure the test of time. He was loved and followed by thousands everywhere He went. He got away to pray several times on His own, and this strengthened Him for ministry.
But now He was really alone. In the Garden of Gethsemane, early in the morning (it is guessed around 1 am) He went there to pray, knowing the fate that lay ahead of Him. He knew that Isaiah said he would be like a sheep taken to the slaughter and that He would be wounded and would take stripes. He knew that they would mock Him, gamble for His garments and nail Him to a cross. He knew this road awaited Him. He desperately wanted His closes friends, Peter, James and John, to pray with Him during this troubling time. But they could not stay awake. They slept each time he woke them up. He was alone. Terribly alone in prayer.
It was a simple prayer. “Not my will, but thine be done.” But it was a big battle for Jesus. All his life He had done the fathers will, never questioning. But now, he really wanted this cup to pass from Him. He really, in His flesh, did not want to go through the agony that lay ahead. He knew he must, but he asked the father if there was any other way, to make it happen. But there was no other way. The father’s will would prevail. He would do whatever He needed to do. He would be obedient through the suffering.
I can’t help but think of another Garden experience so prominent in the Bible. In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve are in the garden and they are faced with the same dilemma. Should they obey God or listen to their flesh. The enemy made giving in to the flesh real tempting to them. But they knew what God had told them – they should not eat of that fruit. It was the only thing they were told not to do. They had to make a decision, and they made the opposite decision that Jesus made. They decided to listen to the flesh instead of listening to God. Because of that decision sin entered the world. Sin was passed on from Adam to all me through His seed. It was a real bad decision.
But Jesus made the right decision. “Not my will, but thine be done.”. What a different world we would live in if Adam and Eve had made that decision. Because of Jesus decision, he suffered unbelievable torture and pain, all for us. But he was also perfected, and became salvation to all who will believe in Him. He affected the lives of every person who every lived by making that one decision. I’m so glad he chose obedience in the midst of the most difficult trial a man has every faced. He saved us all!
What a different world we would live in if we would make that decision every time. To do the will of the Father above our own will. To obey no matter what the outcome might be. Those of you who read my writing all the time know that I live by a verse and do my best to abide by that verse all the time, in good and bad. It is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your path.” This verse has saved me from worry, sorry, storms, trials, troubles and all manner of things the enemy has put in my way. It has also saved me during times when I have been the master of my own disasters. I know that no matter what comes my way, no matter what trouble or storm, I can trust in Him. I don’t try to understand why I made that dumb decision, or why this test has come to me, I just trust Him. I acknowledge that he is working in my life even when I can’t see Him working. I acknowledge He is there, somewhere, working on a better plan for me – His plan. I can praise Him in the midst of the storm because he will show me the way out of that storm. In fact, I would not be surprised if this verse was in Jesus mind that night. James 1:2-4 tells us that we are made perfect by the troubles and temptations that come our way. These verses have also become central to my philosophy. Paul says that for the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. We must look at our troubles that way as well. He works all things for our God – always. Romans 8:26 tells us that we must know this. When we know this, we will see our obedience to Him through our suffering will perfect us in the end. And he will be exalted which is just as it should be.