This has always been a passage that gets my attention. Every time I read it, I can’t help but realize how much God must love us to have come into time as a man and remain as humbled as He did for our benefit.
There are a few things about this passage that are really cool to me. The first is that Jesus prayed even though He was God Himself. Jesus not only prayed, but He cried out. There are times in prayer when I assume that I must “cry out” because I’m afraid God won’t actually listen to me unless I do. But if there’s anyone who would have confidence that their prayers are being heard, it’s Jesus. Which leads me to believe His cries to God were not out of fear of not being heard, but out of passion and deep love for the One who He was crying out to.
Another thing I love about this passage is that it doesn’t say Jesus’ prayers were heard by God because He’s Jesus - it says they were heard because of his “reverent submission”. His cries were heard by God because He chose to rid His heart of selfish ambition and entitlement and chose God’s way first. This is good news because this is something God also can call us to do, which means our prayers and petitions will be heard by God like Jesus’ if we cry out in reverent submission.
The third thing I learn from this passage is that Jesus was made perfect through obedience. He did everything perfectly and died for us so that we, who have already failed, could enter the presence of God. It wasn’t about how powerful Jesus was or how many miracles He performed, it was about His obedience. When God told Him to perform a miracle, He did and when God told Him to die on a cross, He did. To Jesus, it was always about God’s kingdom advancing, not about showing His own power.
give God control
What I think we can take from this for our own lives is that we must take seriously the call to come and humble ourselves and surrender our lives to God. God wants our hearts because He wants to take care of us much better than we’re trying to do ourselves. Think of the thing you’re most afraid to let go of control of and practice handing it over to God. Surrender doesn’t necessarily mean sacrifice, but until we allow our lives to be fully in God’s hands, circumstances have access to shake us. When we are holding onto control, circumstances in our lives can cause anxiety and stress because they ultimately will control us. Practice allowing God to have control. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Lord, we give you control of our lives. We know that you deserve it all and we trust you to be for us and want good for us. God, I pray freedom from needing control over the thing in our lives that we use to “fill ourselves”. We give you control and ask you to fill us the way only you can. Amen.
- Michele Houston