Matthew 26:36-39 – “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” NKJV
Luke 22:41-44 – “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” NKJV
It is not my intent to attempt to exegete this fully. I hope to focus on something that leaps off the page in my spirit when I read it, the word NEVERTHELESS. We know that our LORD in a very short time would experience the Cross and as He prepares for that time of suffering and shame giving Himself a sacrificial lamb for whosoever would believe and receive He went to the garden to pray. Clearly, from the biblical accounts, He was agonizing over what He knew was coming. I do not believe His agony was simply the suffering but the momentary separation from the Father in sin being laid on Him. He knew what was coming!
Matthew and Luke give their account of this event and both are necessary to have a true picture of that night. In His deep sorrow, our LORD prayed an agonizing prayer to the Father and Matthew tells us Jesus requested a reprieve from the Cross, the Cup of Suffering If it were possible. Luke describes it as the LORD asking If it is Your will or If You are willing let it pass. If we have an understanding of the heart of the Father we know that He would have been instantly willing if it was possible to bring redemption to man without the Cross. It clearly was not, divine justice could not be satisfied and the legal hold the devil had on man could not be broken without a sinless sacrifice to atone for sin were offered. Jesus understood this and was totally committed to the mission.
It is here that we find that word that leaps out at me – NEVERTHELESS. If it is possible, let it pass NEVERTHELESS… If the world can be saved without this cup let it pass NEVERTHELESS… I find it powerfully encouraging in Luke’s account that after Jesus prayed for the cup to pass, if possible or if the plan could still be fulfilled were it to pass, an angel sent from the Father strengthened Him and as a result He prayed even more earnestly to the point that blood oozed from his pores and fell to the ground. He was agonizing but totally on board with the plan, therefore, we hear NEVERTHELESS… Not nevertheless out of frustration but faith. It is the, nevertheless of love!
You and I need to reach the NEVERTHELESS stage in our spiritual development where we are committed to the cause, purpose, and plan of God to the place that regardless we can with a joy-filled heart cry NEVERTHELESS. I do not like suffering but if it is necessary to achieve God’s Purposes NEVERTHELESS, not as I will, but as You will Oh Lord! When we reach the NEVERLESS place in our spiritual walk we will lose all fear of man, death and the devil. We will walk into and out of whatever situation with resolute confidence in God and that confidence will anchor our souls.
Remember our Lord’s words, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things will be added…” All These Things spring from the NEVERTHELESS.
May God be with you as you experience this day and all it brings! Blessings!