Best of Daily Reflections: Confronting Deep MysteriesDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Jesus began his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane by asking his Father to take away the cup he was about to drink. As he anticipated the horror of the cross, he wondered if perhaps there was another way for him to complete his mission. He ached not to experience the separation from his Father that was essential to his imminent suffering.
But, even as Jesus asked for the cup to be removed, he chose the will of his Father. “Yet I want your will to be done,” he prayed, “not mine” (22:42). As you would expect, this prayer has troubled commentators and theologians for centuries. How could it be that the will of Jesus was in any way different from the will of the Father? Isn’t Jesus fully God and fully human? How could he pray like this?
We are confronting here several of the greatest mysteries in all of life: the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the grace of God. I won’t even try to solve these here, since I couldn’t do so in a thousand reflections. There are things about God that our limited, sinful minds simply cannot fully fathom, and the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane is one of them.
For those who require rational explanations of everything, this is a problem. They ask: How can we believe that which we cannot fully comprehend? (By the way, I believe all sorts of things I can barely understand, the theory of relativity, for example.) For others, the fact that there are things about God that are beyond our apprehension is to be expected. In fact, they are wonderful. These mysteries call us, not to skepticism, but to worship. As Paul writes in Romans 11:33-36:
Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How do you respond to the fact that there is much about God you’ll never understand, at least not in this life? Why do the mysteries of God lead some to deny the faith and others to worship God?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, once again, I marvel at your prayer in the garden. I wonder what you experienced as you prayed. I wonder exactly what you meant when you said to your Father, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Help me, I pray, to learn faithfully what I can and should learn. Help me to think clearly, to learn from others, and to love you with my mind.
At the same time, as I realize that I will never fully fathom the mysteries of God, call me to humility and worship. May I exclaim, with Paul, “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! All glory be to him forever!” Amen.