A great deal is made about free will nowadays (nothing new under the sun). When Jesus was in the Garden just prior to his arrest, he spoke of his own will and his Father's will. Now I imagine it's possible that Jesus will ultimately moved to align with the Father's, though the scriptures do not explicitly specify that. Yet a more plain reading suggests that Jesus actually went to the cross despite his own personal will yet still in full submission to the Father's. He chose to do God's will, not his own. I just wonder what primary lesson is demonstrated by the Lord for Christians living in America who are knee-deep in a culture of self-determination. Can anyone expect his own will to just "go away" before he can commit to doing God's will for his life? I'm trying to understand how this passage relates to the free will issue and to our own personal walks with God. -- Fred Ichinose
Good question. Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are, as the Hebrew writer confirms. The Cross was not his first choice... and yet of course it was his main reason for coming to earth. Why the contradiction? Because he shared in our humanity. Further, at times his will was more aligned with the Father s will than at others--again just as we ourselves experience the struggle to obey. That is probably why the Lord prayed as much as he did.
I agree that the example of the Lord is a strong challenge to the often narcissistic spirit of western individualism. Many teach that until something "feels right" you ought not to do it. You should pray until you feel comfortable about it according to many preachers. And yet it isn't that simple. Surely there are times when we must do the right thing whether or not we are at peace. Thank God we have the example of our Savior to read about in scripture and to follow.