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The Human Nature of Christ: “Not My Will But Yours Be Done”

by | Feb 14, 2024 | Apologetics, Opinion, Religion, The Church, Theology | 0 comments

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In the seemingly endless debates that often encircle the doctrines of Scripture, one moment frequently becomes a focal point of contention: Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Theological liberals, those synagogues of Hell that affirm every ideology that opposes biblical morality and decency, need an excuse to dismiss the Scriptures as authoritative, and this is one passage they like to twist to fulfill that need—but, as usual, their logic falls short.

In this passage, found in all three synoptic gospels, these liberals often assert that Christ’s plea for the cup to be taken from Him represents a moment of divergence, perhaps even contradiction, within the divine will. However, such a perspective grossly misinterprets the depth and significance of this moment, failing to grasp the profound unity of purpose within the Godhead and the sublime submission of Christ to the Father’s will.

Jesus Christ, in His unparalleled moment of distress in His full humanity, expressed a desire that, if possible, the cup of suffering and death might pass from Him.

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42, ESV — Also see: Matthew 26:39 and Mark 14:36).

This plea, far from indicating a rift in the divine will, exemplifies the genuine humanity of Christ. He faced the reality of suffering and death, yet without sin, embodying the fullness of human emotion and the dread of impending sacrifice. Jesus’ expression of dread did not stem from a heart of rebellion but from one of submission. His human nature did not desire to bear the wrath of God. Would you desire to bear the wrath of God? Of course not, and that is not wrong or sinful. So why would it be wrong for Jesus’ desire to forego the wrath of God to be so?

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Yet, Jesus’ subsequent surrender to the Father’s will, “nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done,” reveals a profound obedience that is both deliberate and volitional, dismantling any notion of contradiction within the divine will. Christ’s suffering on the cross was immense. Nobody desires to suffer. Even the Father didn’t desire to see His son suffer on the cross—at least not in some sadistic way that revels in the suffering of others. It was the greater implication of the necessary suffering, the self-sacrifice that reconciled man to Himself, that pleased God, as we read in Isaiah 53.

This moment in the biblical narrative of redemption serves as a profound testament to the unity and complexity of Jesus’ identity as fully God and fully man. His willingness to embrace the Father’s redemptive plan, despite the personal cost, showcases His perfect obedience and unwavering commitment to the salvation of His people. Jesus’ journey to the cross was not marked by reluctance but by a resolute embrace of the Father’s will, fulfilling the divine plan of salvation articulated through the prophets and culminating in His sacrificial death and victorious resurrection.

To suggest that Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane reveals a contradiction in the divine will is to willingly twist the very nature of Christ’s mission and the essence of the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit operate in perfect harmony, their wills seamlessly aligned in the greater purpose of redemption. Jesus, in His prayer, exemplified the ultimate model of submission—choosing the Father’s will over His human desire to avoid pain and suffering. This act of submission was not a moment of weakness but a powerful affirmation of His role as the Redeemer.

The theological richness of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane cannot be overstated. It embodies the tension between divine sovereignty and human agency, between eternal decrees and temporal suffering. This moment encapsulates the essence of the gospel—God Himself stepping into the sinfulness of the fallen world, taking upon Himself the weight of human sin, and securing redemption through His death and resurrection. It is a vivid display of divine love, justice, and mercy, converging at the cross where Jesus not only accepted but willingly walked the path set before Him.

The narrative of Gethsemane teaches us a profound theological truth of assurance while dispelling the shadows cast by liberal interpretations. It reaffirms the cohesive and singular will of the Godhead in the mission of salvation and highlights Jesus’ active and obedient role in securing our redemption. Far from being a moment of divine contradiction, it is an enduring affirmation of God’s unchanging purpose and the depths of His love for His elect. And we should see this not as a point of contention but as foundational to our faith—a powerful reminder of the cost of our salvation and the infinite worth of the One who paid it.

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