Yet Not What I Will

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:32-36)


Few moments so completely reveal the humanity and divinity of Christ as Gethsemane. Here, as the full weight of the task before him falls on him like a press crushing the ooze of oil from olives, Christ cries out to his Father. His soul is overwhelmed to the point of death, so great is the distress he experiences when reflecting upon the cross. To die for his people, I suspect, would cause him little trouble; to experience the excruciating torment of crucifixion more―but even still could he face it with courage and conviction for the joy set before him. But to be forsaken by God, his Father, with whom he has experienced perfect, unbroken fellowship since before time―that breaks his heart and catches his will. What comfort did he find as he cried out to God? To experience the reassuring presence of his Father one night, only to be cursed and damned the next morning, what solace would that be? And yet . . . he submits his will to the Father’s. In perfect surrender he prayed words that remain unequaled in human history, that represent the heart of Christian discipleship, of a life surrendered wholly to God: “Yet not what I will, but what you will.”


No one of us would choose the present pandemic. We loathe the sickness and death, economic and relational disruption, watching or fearing loved ones suffering. We cry out to God that, if possible, this hour might pass from us—and speedily. But when we consider God’s character—his sovereignty, wisdom, goodness, and love displayed supremely at the cross and empty tomb; when we see the light God brought from such utter darkness, and the good he brought from the terrible evil of Christ’s murder—we can trust him. With Christ, we can pray with a glad surrender, “Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

One Reply to “Yet Not What I Will”

  1. Those are hard words to say but there’s no better time to say them. Thank you for this message.

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