“Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” —Jesus
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at stories from the Bible of people who had amazing, life-changing experiences with God on a mountaintop. First, we looked at Abraham and how he laid everything down before God on top of a mountain. Then we looked at Moses, who climbed a mountain and not only saw God, but found the direction that he so desperately needed. This week, we turn to the New Testament and look at a very special mountaintop experience. Let’s talk about Jesus on the mountain.
Jesus’ life was literally full of mountaintop experiences. Scripture tells that after spending a period of time healing and teaching, He would retire to a mountain to spend time alone with the Father. The most famous sermon ever preached is called The Sermon on the Mount because Jesus delivered it on a mountain. Jesus’ transfiguration, in which His glory was revealed to a few of His disciples and He talked with Moses and Elijah, took place on top of a mountain.
And now we find Jesus on the mountaintop once again. Luke tells us that after He celebrated the Passover with His disciples (a meal we now refer to as the Last Supper), Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray “as He was accustomed.” But this was no ordinary prayer session. In this passage of scripture, we get a unique, beautiful look into the way Jesus, the Son of God and God Himself, interacted with the Father. And what does Jesus say? He says, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me — nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Jesus knew what was coming. He was preparing for His next mountaintop experience, His crucifixion and death on the hill called Calvary. He knew in the coming hours, He was going to be betrayed by one of His best friends, abandoned by the others, arrested, falsely accused, and sentenced to death. He knew He was about to go through the most gruesome, painful, demeaning death one could imagine—all to atone for sins that He did not commit.
And there was at least part of Him that didn’t want to do it. You see, Jesus was human, just like us. He felt emotions just like we do. You know the pain you feel when a friend stabs you in the back? Jesus felt that as He watched every single one of His friends leave Him in His most desperate hour. Also, Jesus had nerve endings under His skin just like we do. Just like we feel pain when we get a cut or break a bone, Jesus felt physical pain as well, and He was about to endure the most agonizing pain imaginable.
But He didn’t have to. Just as much as Jesus was human, He was also divine. He had the power to stop everything that He knew was about to happen. Later that evening, when Jesus was being arrested, He told Peter that all He had to do was say the word, and God would send legions of angels to protect Him. At any point during this whole process, Jesus could have stopped it. He could have said, “I don’t want to do this, I don’t have to do this, and I’m not going to do this.”
But He didn’t. Jesus climbed that mountain, and He had that experience with God where He said, “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” That may have been the hardest thing Jesus ever had to do. But I am so glad He did. Because He made that choice, history was changed forever. Because Jesus chose the Father’s will over His own human will, we now have salvation through Him. Because of His selfless desire to follow God’s will no matter what, we can now have a personal relationship with God and enjoy His presence everywhere we go. I am so thankful that Jesus had that mountaintop experience that day! Aren’t you?
Believe it or not, each of us is being called to do something right now. No matter who you are, God has something that He wants you to be doing for Him today, at this moment. It may be small, or it may be huge. But it’s something, and if God is calling you to do it, then it’s really, really important.
Scripture tells us that God has a good, acceptable, and perfect will for each of us. God has a plan for my life, and God has a plan for your life. God wants to give each of us the best possible life we can have. That’s His desire for me and for you. My pastor, Bro. Will Harmon, puts it this way: Your purpose is to find, follow, and finish God’s good, acceptable, and perfect plan for your life. That’s it. Find, follow, and finish. It’s that simple.
Yes, sometimes God calls us to do things we don’t want to do. That’s a part of how God works. But we have to trust that He has our best interests at heart. Our field of vision is so small. God sees the big picture, and He will never lead us astray. When God calls you to do something, you’re supposed to trust that He knows what He’s doing and simply do whatever He asks. If you’ll trust Him to guide your steps, He’ll give you the best possible life. I promise you that.
Maybe God is calling you to do something that you just don’t want to do. Maybe it’s something you’ve been struggling with for a while, and you just can’t bring yourself to do it. You may be tempted to ignore God’s call or put it off, but I urge you to follow the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He climbed that mountain, He humbled Himself before the Father, and He chose to do God’s will even though it was hard. You can do the same thing. You can climb that mountain and make that choice today. If you do that, if you climb that mountain, God will guide you and bless you every step of the way. And someday, you’ll look back on that choice that you made and think, “My life is different because I had that experience with God that day. I’m so thankful I chose to follow Him.” God’s calling you to do something, and He wants you to answer. Have that mountaintop experience with God today.