Mark 14:32–36 (ESV) — 32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
As we think on this passage, our attention is always drawn to the incredible submission of Jesus to the Father in this excruciating and harrowing hour. Rightly so. So great was the trial He was about to undergo, that three times He sought the Father’s face regarding any possibility for salvation to be accomplished any other way. The answer to which was not given in an audible response, but in the immediately following circumstances. No. This alone was the way both the satisfy justice and provide the means for sinners to be reconciled.
Now as I said, we focus our attention upon Jesus’ amazing submission here. But something I think we most often overlook is the Father in all of this.
We all face decisions. Some easy, some hard. Jesus was facing His hardest one at this moment. But put yourself in God the Father’s shoes at this moment. Contemplate His decision.
His Son, His only begotten Son – THE Son, is praying.
He appeals to the Father’s absolute sovereignty and power – “All things are possible for you” He says. And He is right. The Father does not HAVE to save anyone. He can at this moment, deliver His own Son – and let the rebellious race go to Hell. He is under no obligation. There is nothing constraining Him but one thing – His own heart.
Out of nothing but pure love, He willingly sends His Son to that Cross in our place. He didn’t have to. He wanted to. He could remain just and eternally condemn us all. He could remain full of mercy and grace – without it rising to the level of this sacrificial act.
But He refused.
Hearing His perfect Son’s pleas. Knowing His agony. Seeing His “distress” and “trouble” (vs. 33). Knowing He was “sorrowful, even unto death” (vs. 34). Yet still, He will not relent.
He sees the Son’s willing heart. It must melt His own. It can do no other. Yet the plan remains. The deliverance will not come. The Son will die – though the Father can freely and in all holiness and righteousness choose to spare the Son and cast us aside. But the love that “will not let me go” prevails.
What love is this?
What a Father is this?
What a Son is this?
What a salvation is this?
Words, cannot express.