The Bible tells us that on the night before he was crucified, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying. He was fully aware of what was to come the next day, He always had been.
But now, the coming cross seemed more real than ever.
And Jesus, knowing what was coming, knowing that it meant being separated from His Father, prayed the most honest prayer that any man could.
My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.Matthew 26:39
Do you realize that this was Jesus saying, “Father, this is going to hurt so much. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to go through this. Please…is there any other way?”
And yet, He chose to say, “not My will, but as You will.”
He chose to obey, even when He didn’t want to walk that terrible road to Calvary.
I think one of the things we keep forgetting about the cross is that Jesus could have opted out at anytime.
He said so Himself while being arrested –
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?Matthew 26:53
He could’ve walked away.
At the betrayal.
At the garden.
At the arrest.
At the trial.
At the flogging.
At the crucifixion, yes, even then.
But He chose to do one thing that we so often struggle with. He chose to obey; He chose to stay.
I recently heard an audio sermon by the preacher David Pawson, during which he spoke about a television program about sheepdogs.
Here’s what he said –
“There was one program where the 2nd prize, the silver cup, was given to one sheepdog.
While the dog’s owner, the shepherd, was being interviewed, the interviewer said, “That’s an amazing dog. I’ve heard that that dog has a plastic hip joint in its back leg.”
The shepherd said, “Yes, he lay on our kitchen table for two months while it mended. The vet put a plastic hip joint in his back leg.”
The interviewer said, “That’s amazing because that dog was running and jumping like it was normal. Why did it need a plastic hip joint?”
The shepherd began to cry as he told the story.
He said, “I was in the farm yard, and I said to the dog – ‘lie down‘, and it lay down, and I said – ‘stay‘, and the dog stayed.
But the dog kept looking at me and looking sideways. He was trying to tell me something but I couldn’t get the message.
Behind the barn, the dog could see a huge tractor coming straight for him; and the dog was asking to be released from the order to stay.
That dog stayed there in obedience to me, and let the tractor go over him.
I’d do anything for that dog. That dog is most obedient.
Now I hope this doesn’t sound irreverent, but as I looked at the shepherd’s face, I saw God the Father’s face, telling His Son, “Stay. It’ll kill you, but stay.”
And Jesus became obedient, even to death.
What an act of obedience.”
Jesus chose to obey out of His love for us.
Now where does that leave us? Can we do the same for Him?
Can we choose to obey? To stay, though it may hurt sometimes?
To obey, even when we have a choice not to?
To obey, even when it might kill us?
May it be said of us, just as it is said of Jesus – what an act of obedience.