Jesus at the garden of Gethsemane prays; “Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”(Mark 14:36)
Jon Bloom in his chapter ‘Not My will done’ in the Meditations of the Holy Week (can download the book here) notes the Nine Unfathomable words said by Jesus as he prayed on Maundy Thursday; Yet not what I will, but what you will.
He goes on to explain,
God the son, having longed and pled, to be delivered from God’s will, expressed in these nine simple words a humble faith in and submission to God’s will that was more beautiful than all the glory in the created heavens and earth combined.
What beautiful words they are! Jesus praying, Yet not what I will, but what you will meant that He had given himself to letting God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He was ready for anything, even dying a shameful and painful death on a Roman Cross.
I like the way the apostles have all covered this in their gospels. Through these words of Jesus, we note that no one understands better than God the son how difficult it can be for a human to embrace the will of God. He was in that situation, as fully human, at the Garden of Gethsemane.
Bloom also notes that never has another human felt such an intense desire to be spared the will of God. Moreover, never has any human exercised such humble, obedient faith in the Father’s will. He concludes by saying
When Jesus calls us to follow him, whatever the cost, he is not calling us to do something he is either unwilling to do or has never done himself.
Jesus in the only ‘How to’ he taught, urged his believers to pray to God, “May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” Jesus knew that God’s will for us, however painful now, will result in joy inexpressible and full of glory, and the salvation of our souls (1 Pet. 1:8–9).
In learning to do God’s will, we have a perfect example in Jesus, who didn’t die as a martyr but went to the Cross voluntarily and even deliberately. God’s will was to have Jesus die on the cross so that our pride could be broken, our guilt expunged, our love kindled, our hope restored and our character transformed as John Stott notes on his book, ‘The Cross of Christ.’
Not our will, but God’s will!