At the end of the Last Supper account in Luke 22, we find Jesus isolated from his followers. Yes, they’re in the same room, eating the same meal, but they have not grasped the significance or nature of his ministry. They’re picking up swords, not loving their neighbours.
Later, as Jesus leaves the Garden of Gethsemane under arrest, his isolation intensifies as he’s physically separated from his followers, but still mentally and emotionally separated also, as they failed to remain awake and pray with him.
Between these images of isolation comes a major MOT (Moment of Truth) for Jesus. He’s faced these before, such as during his showdown with Satan at the beginning of his ministry, but now he’s on the cusp of completing his life’s purpose.
- Will he endure?
- Will he persist?
- How far will he go?
- Will he suffer for people who’ve left him isolated in his hour of need?
- If those closest to him can’t grasp his message, what hope is there that his death will benefit those distant to him in space and time?
- Will his suffering prove futile, and if so, why endure it?
The resolution to these questions is found in his prayer, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.” Jesus sought an easier, simpler solution, but at the end of his search he still committed his future to God.
- Jesus’ prayer is one that all Christians should seek to personalise. We live for God, not ourselves. “Not my will, but Yours be done.” What does this really mean though? How do we determine God’s will personally in our lives? I suspect we often sell it short like this example I gave in my sermon.
Don’t get me wrong ; people involve God in their decision making. They pray throughout the whole process for God to guide them to the college with the best scholarships. They pray that God will get them the best education, and that God will lead them to the best job. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Doesn’t Jesus ask for what he wants, an easy way out? We’re willing to follow God’s will, because it usually coincides with our will. I’ve even heard the comment that it’s interesting how a preacher’s “calling” is usually to a bigger church!
But isn’t it difficult to stick with Jesus’ example and say “God, I’m willing to take the second or third best education or scholarship if that’s where I can best serve you. God, I’m willing to take the lower paying job, if there’s someone there I can lead into relationship with you. God, I’m willing to stay put, or move, if that’s what’s going to bring me closer to you. Because I don’t want my will done, but yours.