It is human to not want God’s will. It is a sign of spiritual growth to submit to His Will. Holy Week brings to view at the superlative level, the conflict between human will and the divine
purpose. Nowhere is this more poignantly, and yet nobly, portrayed than in the garden of Gethsemane. Perhaps in no other passage of Scripture is the humanity of the God-man, Jesus Christ, on display in such a vivid manner. Other than the passage in which Christ is tempted of Satan in the wilderness, it is in Gethsemane’s garden that Christ’s actions give impetus to the text that declares, “…we don’t have a high priest who can’t sympathize with our weaknesses but instead one who was tempted in every way that we are, except without sin” (Heb. 4:15, CEB). It was in the garden of Gethsemane that Jesus passed the test of will submission.
Matthew captures a Savior enmeshed in inner turmoil with the prospect of the cross looming over His pure and perfect head. The Matthean writer records the following plea of a forlorn Son to His heavenly Father: Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, not what I want but what you want” (Matt. 26:38–39, CEB). As we ponder Holy Week, may we too ask of the Father that the Holy Spirit will override our stubborn will to subordinate our wants to the perfect plan of God. The time Jesus spent in Gethsemane was a time of crisis much like our current times. May we pray with sincerity the same prayer that our Master prayed. It is only upon our will giving way to His will can we be propelled of the Spirit into a destiny of true fulfillment.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.