A lesson in the glory of “(un)answered” prayers…
Luke 22:42-44: “And Jesus withdrew from [the disciples] about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying,’Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
The Point: God’s glory is often clearest in (un)answered prayers
Jesus prayed a prayer that seemed to go unanswered. The Cup did not pass from Him. And yet, through that Cup, God secured the greatest act of redemption that the world has ever seen and it was all dependent upon this painful, solitary prayer. That prayer demonstrated Jesus’ willingness to endure the wrath of God that would come upon Him at the Cross… Without that willing, trusting heart (as displayed in His selfless prayer) mankind would have eternally perished without ever having any hope of redemption.
The Father’s only Son willingly gave up His life to save a multitude of selfish, undeserving rebels. Jesus so deeply agonized over His coming death (and the separation from His Father that it would require) that His sweat was like stinging drops of blood. Can you imagine a greater display of love and humility? Despite His righteous fear of His Father’s wrath, He selflessly consented to His own desecration and death in order to become the curse for us. He was pierced for OUR transgressions… every single sinful thought and deed was nailed to His account so that He would endure the full extent of the damnation that we deserved. And every ounce of His righteousness was credited to us…
Jesus’ unwavering faith in the Father is completely astounding–He asked not for His will, but that of His Father. That should leave us breathless that He would exchange His own account for ours. Amazingly, the Father actually answered Jesus’ prayer by punishing the Righteous and pardoning many of the unrighteous. The truth is, the Father always intended for Jesus to bear the burden that we could never carry. Another glorious reality is that God always answers our prayers, too. He does so, because He is gracious beyond all that we could ask or imagine. Sometimes we feel like our prayers go unanswered, but God always answers our petitions according to the beauty of His glorious plan.
The attitude of Jesus’ heart is instructive for us. His example reveals that we should pray with a similar exercise of faith and humility that culminates in seeking not our will, but the Father’s. We will give God most glory when we submit to His counsel and resign our hearts to gratefully embrace that which His infinite wisdom deems best. And, like Jesus, we will see the great and (im)possible things that God will accomplish through our humble obedience in the midst of (un)answered prayers. If the Savior of our undeserving souls could entrust Himself to the Father, then so can we… the gospel demands it.
Prayerfully Acknowledge His Promise of Glory: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)