Gethsemane: Not My Will, But Your Will Be Done

A drawing of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, having a vision of his resurrection and the stone rolled away from his tomb on Easter morning.

BELIEVER’S ROAD SERIES

Click on the image to enlarge it.

SOLD, 22.5cm x 26cm (9″ x 10″), Pen on Paper, Prints Available

 

“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray,’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.’ He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it may your will be done.’ When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!'” (Matthew 26:36-46)

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:7-10)

Jesus left us a perfect example of absolute surrender, death to self and obedience to God’s will as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified (Matthew 26:36-46). God wants to work these same attributes in each one of his children that he may work his perfect, glorious will in our lives.

This drawing is based on a revelation from a dream God gave me in answer to my prayers that God would bring me into absolute surrender to his perfect will.

“Then he [Jesus] said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:23-25)

A couple years after my “Gethsemane Dream” I had a ‘sequel’, my “Crucifixion Dream”. These dreams were prophetic of a journey upon which God was about to take me in which he would teach me how to worship him acceptably as a living sacrifice.

One year prior to the onset of this journey, I had my “Gethsemane Dream”:

I observed Christ on the cross extremely close up to his face (about 1 foot away). He was in excruciating pain and was gasping for breath very erratically because the pain was so intense. Though he was dying, he was still alive. He was a bloodied pulp, truly disfigured and marred beyond the likeness of any man (Isaiah 52:14). His suffering was so intense and so near to me that it completely overwhelmed me. All I wanted to do was leave the scene because I could not bear the intensity of the graphic horror in my face. It was too agonizing and troubling to be that close to Christ’s suffering. I then moved on from this vision in my dream.

In the next scene of my dream I was sentenced to die the next day. In that fleeting time before my execution I had to absolutely surrender EVERYTHING–my marriage, my ministry, my life–to God in worship. I begged God to take the cup of sorrow and death and suffering away from me and spare my life. I was terrified to die, and I thought it was a terrible tragedy that my life would be snuffed out prematurely at 31 years of age. At the end of the dream, when my execution was at hand, I was terrified and in the depths of grief, and all my strength was gone.

Throughout the entire dream I was pleading with God to spare my life. I couldn’t understand why I had to be executed, and I certainly didn’t believe God would want me to be cut off from the land of the living in the prime of my life. Certainly he would want to use me for another 50 years. I tried to fling myself toward God to save me, but I only collapsed to the ground, for I had no strength left.

Then God my Father spoke to me saying, “Why don’t you just let go and trust me?” I realized then that it was God’s perfect will for me to die, and I had been resisting it this whole time! By his grace alone, he brought me into absolute surrender to his perfect will. I woke up right before my execution.

The lessons I learned through this dream (as it unfolded in real life) and the inspiration for this drawing are mentioned below.

The drawing portrays Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he’s having a “vision” of himself resurrected. Although the Bible does not say he saw a vision of himself resurrected while in Gethsemane, I believe that it was Jesus’ faith in the Father that he would raise him from the dead which gave him courage and strength to go through his crucifixion and death (which he was agonizing over in the Garden). He was seeing the life beyond his death (Hebrews 12:2). I have visually portrayed in this drawing what I tend to think Jesus saw through the eyes of faith the night before he died for us.

Jesus had faith in the Father that he would bring him through death into life. Death was not the end for him because he looked forward to resurrection life. This is what gave him the strength to submit and obey, and this is what gives us the strength to submit and obey also.

“I [Jesus] saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence” (Acts 2:25-28).

This dream also reminded me of Abraham, for he endured his own kind of “Gethsemane” when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. I saw that Abraham, just like Jesus, grappled with the agony of death and also had complete faith in God to raise the dead. Abraham knew God’s promise to give him countless offspring depended on Isaac, and he too trusted, submitted and obeyed the Father as he was about to slit his son’s throat.

“By faith, Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)

I also learned another important thing. After Jesus absolutely surrendered himself to the Father’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane, whatever people accused him of or whatever people did to him was now of little relevance or importance to him (in a manner of speaking) because it was all just the perfect, sovereign plan of God unfolding. All of the mocking and flogging were just inevitable events in God’s sovereign plan for him to die, which Jesus did not resist.

Therefore, since Jesus knew he was in the center of God’s perfect will, he didn’t have to become emotionally involved or distressed over all of the exceedingly distressing things that were happening to him on earth. The Lord had brought him to a place where he felt no need to speak a single word in his defense. Defending himself was now completely irrelevant to him. Straightening out what people thought of him was irrelevant as well as proving his innocence or seeking justice. Doing the Father’s will was the only thing important and relevant to him. This is what he was doing in the spiritual, therefore it did not matter to him what happened in the natural, for it was God’s perfect will for him.

“He [Jesus] was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:7-12)

When Jesus absolutely surrendered to the will of the Father in Gethsemane, it was almost as if he was on a completely different plane and dimension than the people on earth. He was walking in communion and submission to his Heavenly Father, a spiritual plane far above all that was going on on earth. Because Jesus lived and acted according to the spiritual reality, he processed all that was happening to him on earth from that spiritual viewpoint. This is the true spiritual reality and place where all of us Christians must likewise live and process earthly things (2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:7).

Stephen was also in this “spiritual plane” as he was being martyred:

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears and yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:55-60).

Stephen was absolutely surrendered to the Lord unto death. So great was his peace with God because of his absolute surrender that he is aptly described as “falling asleep” (even though in the natural he met an extremely brutal death at the hands of some very violent, angry people).

“Submit to God and be at peace with him…” (Job 22:21)

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

My “Gethsemane” dream, which inspired this drawing, was followed awhile later by a sequel “Crucifixion” dream. The latter dream was part of the inspiration behind the work “Sacrifice: The Fragrance of Worship” (Praise and Worship Series 2) as well as “Crucifixion was The Only Way Worship Could be Released” (Believer’s Road Series 2).