March 14th, 2022 – Mark 14:36

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Mark 14:36   And He was saying, Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt. 

This verse is found in the set of verses regarding Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane.  “And they came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, Sit here until I have prayed. And He took with Him Peter and James and John and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch. And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.” Mark 14:32-35. First, this comes just after Peter had mentioned several times that even though he may have to die with Him, he would not deny Him.  And the others were saying the same thing. “But Peter kept saying insistently, even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You! And they all were saying the same thing, too.” Mark 14:31.  So, as we can see, Jesus took His disciples to Gethsemane and asked them to sit there until He came back from praying. However, He took Peter, James, and John with Him as well. And due to what He knew was coming He was deeply troubled.

In those days, Jews most often prayed standing and with uplifted hands. Prostration was the gesture of extreme urgency. Jesus, being fully human as well as fully God, was struggling with what He knew was coming. Because of this, He was praying that if it were possible, that this hour would pass Him by.  ‘This Hour’ refers to the time of His arrest and eventual death which would accomplish the purpose for which The Father sent Him here. This prayer was an expression of the real humanity of Jesus, which is as necessary a part of his nature as his deity.

Then we come to our focus verse. “And He was saying, Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” Mark 14:36. “Abba” is an Aramaic word, as Mark no doubt hastened to add for the benefit of his Greek-speaking readers and hearers, meaning father or daddy. The word was used primarily by little children within the family circle. There is no evidence that Jews used the word in addressing God. Such familiarity, they thought, would be irreverent. By using the word, Jesus affirmed his intimate relationship with God.

This verse particularly shows the ‘human’ side of Jesus.  He was approaching a very difficult time in which He will not just be killed but tortured by the Jews. In essence, we see both sides of Jesus. The phrase “All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me.” is definitely His human side. While “yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt” shows His deity. As we see here, He still showed His human side, but did not allow it to take precedent over what the Father wanted.  As difficult as it was, He knew this was the only way to allow the plan of God the Father to be completed. And this plan was for all people, those that loved Him, and also those who did not.

And as hard as this may sound, we should also be willing to follow this example. We must never allow our desires to prevail over what God desires. He wants us to go out and preach the gospel to all, not just to those we desire to be around. He wants us to encourage all Christians to be a light in the darkness, not just those we feel comfortable around. We are called to love everyone, not just those who show us love in ways that please us. And if in our work for God, we must die in order to accomplish His plan, then we must die and thus glorify Him. What we want must always be secondary to His plans. Jesus is an example of this. So, let us go back to what Jesus prayed. “Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” He was not crazy about what was coming, but He went through it because God The Father wanted Him to. And we should do the same.  What does it matter what we want when God has the perfect plan for us all?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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