|`Father! Not what I will;' Or, Christ the
said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; remove this cup from me:
howbeit not what I will, but what Thou wilt.'-MARK xiv.
WHAT a contrast within the space of a few hours! What a transition
from the quiet elevation of that, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said,
FATHER I WILL,' to that falling on the ground and crying in agony. `My Father!
Not what I will.' In the one we see the High Priest within the veil in His
all-prevailing intercession; in the other, the sacrifice on the altar opening
the way through the rent veil. The high-priestly `Father! I will,'
in order of time precedes the sacrificial `Father! Not what I will;' but
this was only by anticipation, to show what the intercession would be when once
the sacrifice was brought. In reality it was that prayer at the altar,
`Father! Not what I will,' in which the prayer before the throne, `Father!
I will,' had its origin and its power. It is from the entire
surrender of His will in Gethsemane that the High Priest on the throne has the
power to ask what He will, has the right to make His people share in that power
too, and ask what they will.
For all who would learn to pray in the
school of Jesus, this Gethsemane lesson is one of the most sacred and precious.
To a superficial scholar it may appear to take away the courage to pray in
faith. If even the earnest supplication of the Son was not heard, if even
the Beloved had to say, `NOT WHAT I WILL!' how much more do we need to speak so.
And thus it appears impossible that the promises which the Lord had given
only a few hours previously, `WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK,' `WHATSOEVER YE WILL,'
could have been meant literally. A deeper insight into the meaning of
Gethsemane would teach us that we have just here the sure ground and the open
way to the assurance of an answer to our prayer. Let us draw nigh in
reverent and adoring wonder, to gaze on this great sight-God's Son thus offering
up prayer and supplications with strong crying and tears, and not obtaining what
He asks. He Himself is our Teacher, and will open up to us the mystery of
His holy sacrifice, as revealed in this wondrous prayer.
understand the prayer, let us note the infinite difference between what our Lord
prayed a little ago as a Royal High Priest, and what He here supplicates in His
weakness. There it was for the glorifying of the Father He prayed,
and the glorifying of Himself and His people as the fulfilment of distinct
promises that had been given Him. He asked what He knew to be according to
the word and the will of the Father; He might boldly say, `FATHER! I
WILL.' Here He prays for something in regard to which the Father's
will is not yet clear to Him. As far as He knows, it is the Father's will
that He should drink the cup. He had told His disciples of the cup He must
drink: a little later He would again say, `The cup which my Father hath
given me, shall I not drink it?' It was for this He had come to this
earth. But when, in the unutterable agony of soul that burst upon him as
the power of darkness came upon Him, and He began to taste the first drops of
death as the wrath of God against sin, His human nature, as it shuddered in
presence of the awful reality of being made a curse, gave utterance in this cry
of anguish, to its desire that, if God's purpose could be accomplished without
it, He might be spared the awful cup: `Let this cup pass from me.'
That desire was the evidence of the intense reality of His humanity.
The `Not as I will' kept that desire from being sinful: as He
pleadingly cries, `All things are possible with Thee,' and returns again to
still more earnest prayer that the cup may be removed, it is His thrice-repeated
`NOT WHAT I WILL' that constitutes the very essence and worth of His sacrifice.
He had asked for something of which He could not say: I know it is
Thy will. He had pleaded God's power and love, and had then withdrawn it
in His final, `THY WILL BE DONE.' The prayer that the cup should pass away
could not be answered; the prayer of submission that God's will be done was
heard, and gloriously answered in His victory first over the fear, and then over
the power of death.
It is in this denial of His will, this
complete surrender of His will to the will of the Father, that Christ's
obedience reached its highest perfection. It is from the sacrifice of the
will in Gethsemane that the sacrifice of the life on Calvary derives its value.
It is here, as Scripture saith, that He learned obedience, and became the
author of everlasting salvation to all that obey Him. It was because He
there, in that prayer, became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,
that God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him the power to ask what He will.
It was in that `Father! Not what I will,' that He obtained the power
for that other `FATHER! I will.' It was by Christ's submittal in
Gethsemane to have not His will done, that He secured for His people the right
to say to them, `Ask whatsoever ye will.'
look at them again, the deep mysteries that Gethsemane offers to my view.
There is the first: the Father offers His Well-beloved the cup, the
cup of wrath. The second: the Son, always so obedient, shrinks back,
and implores that He may not have to drink it. The third: the Father
does not grant the Son His request, but still gives the cup. And then the
last: the Son yields His will, is content that His will be not done, and
goes out to Calvary to drink the cup. O Gethsemane! in thee I see
how my Lord could give me such unlimited assurance of an answer to my prayers.
As my surety He won it for me, by His consent to have His petition
This is in harmony with the whole scheme of redemption.
Our Lord always wins for us the opposite of what He suffered. He was
bound that we might go free. He was made sin that we might become the
righteousness of God. He died that we might live. He bore God's
curse that God's blessing might be ours. He endured the not answering of
His prayer, that our prayers might find an answer. Yea, He spake, `Not
as I will,' that He might say to us, `If ye abide in me, ask what ye
will; it shall be done unto you.'
ye abide in me;' here in Gethsemane the word acquires new force and depth.
Christ is our Head, who as surety stands in our place, and bears what we
must for ever have borne. We had deserved that God should turn a deaf ear
to us, and never listen to our cry. Christ comes, and suffers this too for
us: He suffers what we had merited; for our sins He suffers beneath the
burden of that unanswered prayer. But now His suffering this avails for
me: what He has borne is taken away for me; His merit has won for me the
answer to every prayer, if I abide in Him.
Him, as He bows there in Gethsemane, I must abide. As my Head, He not only
once suffered for me, but ever lives in me, breathing and working His own
disposition in me too. The Eternal Spirit, through which He offered
Himself unto God, is the Spirit that dwells in me too, and makes me partaker of
the very same obedience, and the sacrifice of the will unto God. That
Spirit teaches me to yield my will entirely to the will of the Father, to give
it up even unto the death, in Christ to be dead to it. Whatever is my own
mind and thought and will, even though it be not directly sinful, He teaches me
to fear and flee. He opens my ear to wait in great gentleness and
teachableness of soul for what the Father has day by day to speak and to teach.
He discovers to me how union with God's will in the love of it is union
with God Himself; how entire surrender to God's will is the Father's claim, the
Son's example, and the true blessedness of the soul. He leads my will into
the fellowship of Christ's death and resurrection, my will dies in Him, in Him
to be made alive again. He breathes into it, as a renewed and quickened
will, a holy insight into God's perfect will, a holy joy in yielding itself to
be an instrument of that will, a holy liberty and power to lay hold of God's
will to answer prayer. With my whole will I learn to live for the
interests of God and His kingdom, to exercise the power of that will-crucified
but risen again-in nature and in prayer, on earth and in heaven, with men and
with God. The more deeply I enter into the `FATHER! NOT WHAT I WILL' of
Gethsemane, and into Him who spake it, to abide in Him, the fuller is my
spiritual access into the power of His `FATHER! I WILL. And the soul
experiences that it is the will, which has become nothing that God's will may be
all, which now becomes inspired with a Divine strength to really will what God
wills, and to claim what has been promised it in the name of
O let us listen to Christ in Gethsemane, as He calls,
`If ye abide in me, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.'
Being of one mind and spirit with Him in His giving up everything to God's
will, living like Him in obedience and surrender to the Father; this is abiding
in Him; this is the secret of power in prayer.
`LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.'
Blessed Lord Jesus! Gethsemane was
Thy school, where Thou didst learn to pray and to obey. It is still Thy
school, where Thou leadest all Thy disciples who would fain learn to obey and to
pray even as Thou. Lord! teach me there to pray, in the faith that Thou
has atoned for and conquered our self-will, and canst indeed give us grace to
pray like Thee.
O Lamb of God! I would follow Thee to Gethsemane,
there to become one with Thee, and to abide in Thee as Thou dost unto the very
death yield Thy will unto the Father. With Thee, through Thee, in Thee, I
do yield my will in absolute and entire surrender to the will of the Father.
Conscious of my own weakness, and the secret power with which self-will
would assert itself and again take its place on the throne, I claim in faith the
power of Thy victory. Thou didst triumph over it and deliver me from it.
In Thy death I would daily live; in Thy life I would daily die.
Abiding in Thee, let my will, through the power of Thine eternal Spirit,
only be the tuned instrument which yields to every touch of the will of my God.
With my whole soul do I say with Thee and in Thee, `Father! Not as I
will, but as Thou wilt.'
And then, Blessed Lord! Open my
heart and that of all Thy people, to take in fully the glory of the truth, that
a will given up to God is a will accepted of God to be used in his service, to
desire, and purpose, and determine, and will what is according to God's will.
A will which, in the power of the Holy Spirit the indwelling God, is to
exercise its royal prerogative in prayer, to loose and to bind in heaven and
upon earth, to ask whatsoever it will, and to say it shall be
O Lord Jesus! teach me to pray.
Public Domain [Copy Freely]