Some think our Lord’s prayer in Gethsemane when His sweat fell like great drops of blood was due to the weakness of His flesh, to His fear of drinking the cup. Not at all, for the prayer in Gethsemane is on the same principle as 1 Samuel 15.22. It is the highest prayer in which our Lord expresses His obedience to God’s authority. Our Lord obeys God’s authority first, more than sacrificing Himself on the cross. He prays earnestly that He may know what is the will of God. He does not say, “I want to be crucified, I must drink the cup.” He merely insists on obeying. He says in effect, “If it be possible for me not to go to the cross,” but even here He has not His own will. Immediately He continues with, “but Thy will be done.”
The will of God is the absolute thing; the cup (that is, the crucifixion) is not absolute. Should God will it that the Lord not be crucified, then He would not need to go to the cross. Before He knew the will of God, the cup and God’s will were two separate things; after He knew it was of God, however, the cup and God’s will merged into one. Will represents authority. Therefore, to know God’s will and to obey it is to be subject to authority. But how can one be subject to authority if he does not pray or have the heart to know God’s will?
“The cup which the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” says the Lord (John 18.11). Here He maintains the supremacy of the authority of God, not of His cross. Further, having once understood that drinking the cup—that is, being crucified for atonement—is God’s will, He instantly says: “Arise, let us be going” (Matt. 26.46). In going to the cross He accomplishes God’s will. Consequently the Lord’s death is the highest expression of obedience to authority. Even the cross, the crux of the universe, cannot be higher than God’s will. The Lord maintains God’s authority (the will of God) more than His own cross (His sacrifice).
To serve God we are not called to choose self-denial or sacrifice, rather are we called to fulfill God’s purpose. The basic principle is not to choose the cross but to obey God’s will. Should the principle on which we work and serve include rebellion, then Satan will obtain and enjoy glory even through our sacrifices. Saul might offer sheep and oxen, yet God never accepted them as sacrifices to Himself because there was a Satanic principle involved. To overthrow God’s authority is to overthrow God. That is why the Scripture indicates that “rebellion is as the sin of divination, and selfwill is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Sam. 15.23).
As God’s servants, the first thing we should meet is authority. To touch authority is as practical as touching salvation, but it is a deeper lesson. Before we can work for God we must be overturned by His authority. Our entire relationship with God is regulated by whether or not we have met authority. If we have, then we shall encounter authority everywhere, and being thus restrained by God we can begin to be used by Him.
Categories: Church Life