December 9 - LD 49, Day 7: Christ Praying the Third Petition
by Rev. Martyn McGeown
Matthew 26:39 - “…Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
Yesterday, we looked at the pattern of willing obedience to the will of God shown by the angels in heaven. But there is one higher pattern—that of Jesus Christ.
Christ came into the world to do the will of God. In the volume of the book of God’s decree and revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures was God’s will for Jesus Christ (Psa 40:7-8). So zealous was Jesus for the will of God that He said to His disciples, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Never did Jesus transgress the will of God. Never did Jesus even will to transgress the will of God.
God’s will for Jesus was that He suffer and die for our sins and bear His wrath on the cross. This was eternally decreed concerning Him—the serpent would bruise His heel (Gen 3:15); He would be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities” (Isa 53:5); He would be “cut off, but not for himself” (Dan 9:26); He, the Shepherd would be smitten with the sword of the LORD (Zech 13:7). When His enemies came to arrest Him, Peter tried to defend Him, but Jesus responded: “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matt 26:54).
Yet, Christ, too, struggled with this petition, more than we ever will. He was not tempted to disobey, but He shrank back in horror at the prospect of drinking the cup of God’s wrath. In heaviness of heart, He asked the Father, if it be possible, that the cup might pass from Him, but He added those crucial words, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt 26:39).
In Gethsemane, Christ deliberately and consciously renounced His own will—the will that there might be some other way—to God’s will. What self denial! What submission! What love! What obedience!
Never was the third petition more difficult to utter than in Gethsemane, but He uttered it.
And because He uttered it, we have grace to utter it too.
All our self will, murmuring, rebellion and disobedience was laid on Christ who carried them to the cross and suffered the penalty of death for them. And grace, spiritual strength and every measure of the Spirit which we possess were purchased for us by the sacrifice of Christ.
From Christ we have an everlasting supply of grace, which we can request from the overflowing fountain of all good. Thus we come to the Father, with this petition on our lips: “O Father, subdue my will, work Thy will in me, let Thy will be performed by me. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”