Let’s zero in on Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane: The ultimate spiritual battle is my will versus Thy will. We face this same temptation of being seduced into not picking up our cross. “God, can’t we find another way?” Satan was suggesting to Jesus an easier path. You don’t need to die. Or for us, why bother denying yourself; you’ll be forgiven. Sometimes God stills the storms, and other times, He stills the storms within us. That night Jesus needed God to still the storm within Him. It was this time of prayer that gave Jesus strength, courage and power to face the pain, humiliation and horror of the cross.

Asking “why” is a statement of faith, not doubt. It presupposes God exists, that He loves us and is in control of our destiny. Prayer is the declaration, “God has the power to help me walk through the darkness.” God is to be wrestled with. Our suffering causes us to press into God. Prayer is not about moving God to our will, as much as moving us toward God.

The skeptics at Oxford ridiculed C.S. Lewis for praying to God when his wife was dying. He said, “I pray not to bring God to my point of view, but for God to bring C.S. Lewis to God’s point of view.” Then comes the moment we say, “Not my will, but Thy will.” Prayer changes things, primarily the person praying. In our personal darkness, our Gardens of Gethsemane can be a hospital room, court room, funeral home… prayer gives us God’s presence and promises.

Jesus knew what was about to happen, and what had to be done. Don’t forget Jesus informed Peter, “I can call down a legion of angels.” If He really didn’t want to do this, He could have bypassed it; He is God. But He cared more for us than Himself. He wanted to stop sin from destroying His children, so He took our badness so we could enjoy God’s goodness.

There is a sign that reads over the rock where Jesus prayed and sweat blood: “No Explanations.” We need His presence, not words.
The Garden of Eden was where God walked with Adam and Eve. It was all destroyed because Satan lied and inspired us to pursue our own desires instead of God’s will. The Garden of Eden was where the first sting of death began, rendering every person a dead man walking—alive, but destined to die.

Fast forward to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus restores paradise and reestablished God walking in our presence again. Jesus became the dead man walking. He submitted to death, which is separation from God. Jesus is rectifying the bad decision in the original garden, reversing the curse in this one.

By the way, the Garden of Gethsemane has the same tree shoots from Jesus’ day. Where the blood of Christ has been dropped, life doesn’t stop! He dropped it on you! Now your life has no end!

Adapted from “It Happened in Jerusalem” by Rev. Dr. William A. Lewis