“Perhaps no event in the life of Jesus more powerfully demonstrates the radical nature of his dependence on God and his obedience to God’s will than the prayer he offered up in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his crucifixion. Jesus, like everyone else living during the Roman Empire, knew full well the brutality that was execution by crucifixion. The drawn-out process would be utterly humiliating and excruciating. Jesus knew that he would feel, as any human being would, the full force of degradation and pain, trauma and betrayal, injustice and hopelessness. As a human, he was anxious. He told his disciples before he entered the interior of the garden, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38).
Once Jesus was by himself, he fell face to the ground and prayed: My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. (Matthew 26:39 NLT)
He prayed this prayer not just once, but three times. Jesus pleaded for a stay of execution. Could anyone blame him? Surely, by this time he knew there was no other way for salvation to be made available to the entire human race. He was the spotless lamb, the Messiah about whom the Old Testament prophets wrote. He was the sinless Son of God. He had not cratered to any temptation. This was the only possible solution. If not Jesus, then who? If not Jesus, then humanity would be without hope. Yet Jesus petitioned the Father to see if there might be another way. Jesus finished all three prayers with a declaration that had been true throughout his entire thirty-three years walking this earth. He surrendered himself to his Father: “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
This is the climax, the crescendo of Jesus’ life purpose.”
And that’s the Memo.