I’m sure you’ve read the passage where Jesus asks the Father if there is some way to let His suffering pass from Him. He then follows that up by saying, “Not as I will… Your will be done“ (Matthew 26:39, 42). You never have to pray a prayer like that.
Two Kinds Of Obedience
I’m not saying that it would be wrong for you to tell the Father, “Not my will, but yours be done.“ That’s perfectly fine. The reason I’m telling you that you don’t have to pray like Jesus prayed, is because your obedience to the Father is completely unlike Jesus’ obedience to the Father. You would never have to submit to God the way that Jesus did that night. Your obedience to the Father is something entirely different.
Jesus’ obedience to the Father was to die for the sins of the world. The Father and Jesus were working together to save all of us (John 5:17). Look at how the Bible explains Jesus’ obedience to the Father:
Philippians 2:8 (NKJV) …He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus’ obedience to the Father was dying for all of us. The Father was working with Christ to become our salvation, and therefore Jesus’ obedience was His suffering and His death for us. But our obedience is nothing like Jesus’ obedience.
In the New Testament, the only obedience that the Bible applies to us is called “the obedience of faith“ (listen to our “Obedience Of Faith” teaching for more).
Romans 1:5 (ASV)…we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations…
Romans 16:26 (ASV) …the commandment of the eternal God, is made known unto all the nations unto obedience of faith:
It was Jesus’ obedience to suffer so that we would not have to. It was Jesus’ obedience to die so that we wouldn’t have to. It was Jesus’ obedience to be judged so that we wouldn’t have to. It is our obedience to believe it. Did you catch that? Your obedience to God isn’t to suffer. Your obedience to God is to believe the One who did! And that’s all. I am happy to tell you, that God has given you the easier obedience.
John 6:29 (NKJV) “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
1 John 5:3 – 4 (NKJV) …His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
God‘s commandment toward us is merely to believe the suffering, pain, and death that Jesus took for us at the cross. It is not our submission to God to suffer, hurt, or die ourselves. This is quite a controversial thing to say, although it shouldn’t be… “If Jesus came to suffer for us, why would God require it of us as well? What is the point of Jesus suffering in our stead, if we are required to go on suffering all over again?”
Jesus Suffered So You Wouldn’t Have To
So, you never have to pray the way Jesus prayed. He was asking the Father if there was another way to save us, aside from the excruciating suffering that He would have to go through. Jesus then submitted to the suffering, in perfect obedience, saying, “Not as I will… Your will be done.“ But your submission to God is not suffering. Your submission to God is not some kind of hurt, or pain, or discomfort for the kingdom’s sake. Your one obedience is to continue to believe steadfastly, on the suffering Jesus took for you!
Even for all the apostles, all the prophets, and all the men of God that have suffered at the hands of evil men for the sake of the gospel… Regarding them, the thing that they did right was that they never stopped believing what Jesus has done for them. The suffering itself was not the part that God was requiring of them. Did it happen? Yes. Was it the will of God for them? Not by a long shot (we recommend listening to our “Persecution” teachings for more on this).
It was our sickness Jesus took on the cross. It was our pain Jesus took on the cross. It was our suffering Jesus took on the cross. And oh, what a vain, empty, and useless thing the cross is, if we are still required to suffer, hurt, and languish as obedience to God. What an empty thing the cross is, if that is the case. God could have spared His Son, if we are still required to go through all the the same things He supposedly took away from us.
Jesus’ obedience was to suffer and suffer thoroughly for you. You, on the other hand, get the easy obedience. Your obedience is simply to believe it. Praise God for alleviating the weight, and for giving us such an easy and light obedience to do!
Matthew 11:29-30 (NKJV) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me… For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
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