“Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Nine words. Nine unfathomable words.
In this familiar garden of prayer, Jesus looked deeply into the Father’s Cup he was about to drink and was terrified. Everything in his human flesh wanted to flee the impending physical torture of crucifixion. And his Holy Spirit groaned with ineffable dread at the far greater impending spiritual torture of being forsaken by his Father.
Expressed in these nine simple words a humble faith in and submission to the father’s will that was more beautiful than the world had ever seen, or experienced. Jesus did not consider equality with the Father a thing to be grasped, but became obedient to God’s will, even if it meant Jesus dying an incomprehensibly horrifying death on a Roman cross (Phil. 2:6, 8). Jesus wanted the Father’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, even though in that dark moment, Jesus wished in body and soul that the Father’s will could be done another way.
And in that moment, another mystery came into view. God the Son, perfectly obedient to God the Father. No one understands better than God how difficult it can be for a human to embrace the will of God. And no human has suffered more in embracing the will of God the Father than God the Son. 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.
That is why we look to Jesus as the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).