Unanswered Prayer: And how Mark 14:34-36 opens up Romans 8:32.


I am quite certain I have commented on this passage similarly before. But in reading it afresh today, once again the power and wonder of what was transpiring here hit me. I think we pass over some of the realities far too quickly.

This is in fact the single greatest example of unanswered prayer. And aren’t we glad.

We all face decisions. Some easy, some hard.

But put yourself in God the Father’s shoes at this moment.

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, you and me, 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 impending agony.

Seeing Jesus’ “distress” and “trouble” (vs. 33).

Knowing He was “sorrowful, even unto death” (vs. 34).

Yet still, The Father will not relent.

He sees the Son’s willing heart.

It must melt His own.

It can do nothing else.

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.

And now. When He seemingly does not answer my prayers, or answer them as quickly as I want or exactly the way I want – is it not wise to reflect here and see how the Father’s love far outstrips my pitiful understanding? To trust Him? For if He would refuse Jesus on my account, what won’t His perfect love and wisdom do even now? “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)

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