When God told Jesus “No!”

“Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’ Mark 14:35,36

“‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.'” Mark 11:22-24

It is important to use Scripture to intepret Scripture.

This second verse (Mark 11) has been used through the ages to claim things that never came to pass. Accordingly, those involved would doubt their own faith or criticize the faith of others. Think about it. If every prayer prayed with faith was answered, no Christian would die. It is not time for death to die yet so therefore we must!

There is more in that verse. Jesus was talking about the withered fig tree in the second verse. Jesus had said in verse 14 of Mark 11, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”

God is not a Holy Vending Machine for our whim.

We must remember that Jesus was God and was wholly in tune with God’s will. We are not. We can therefore know that all that Jesus did on this earth, that he was in step with God’s plan. Jesus was telling Peter about the power of faith and prayer. It would be assumed that the prayer was delivered was in God’s will. But God’s will is not what Jesus was discussing at the moment. One cannot look at these verses in Mark 11 and come away that God is a holy vending machine for every whim and fancy that is activated by the quarters of faith. That is overly simplistic and not what is intended, I think.

So, to interpret Scripture with Scripture we look at Jesus’ prayer a few chapters later.

When God answered Jesus’ prayer with a “No.”

“Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’ Mark 14:35,36

So, here we see the prayer of Jesus before going to the cross in Mark 14. This is the only prayer that I know of where Jesus asked something and God said, “No.”

Jesus was literally asking that He not have to go to the cross. Jesus believed and had faith that it was possible for God to do things without the cross and asked God to “take this cup from me.” Jesus ended the prayer telling God that He would submit to God’s will.

Sometimes we pray and ask, and God says, “Yes” to our request. Sometimes we pray and ask and God says, “No.”

The importance of the cross to me is that Jesus could have taken matters into his own hands.

Jesus could have “zapped” his accusers on trial.

He could have called angels and legions of heavenly soldiers.

He could have ascended to heaven and stomped his foot before the Father because He didn’t get His way.

But He didn’t.

Jesus was sinless. He was sinless because when God handed Jesus his cross, Jesus took it. He did not complain. God even turned his back on Jesus and Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” But Jesus did not forsake God.

That is why Jesus is our model.

This life is tough. It is not yet time for us to live into eternity and we are all in the process of dying. Ultimately we WILL all die.

Dying is something no one looks forward to and most naturally fear. Therefore, we end up in Gethsemane begging for God to “take this cup from us.” We believe He can do it on our behalf or the behalf of a loved one.

And yet God has an appointed time for each Christian to die once, it is something that must happen.

So, when we faithfully seek God, believing in his ability, and God hands us a cross, we are to go forth like our Jesus.

Jesus did NOT get everything he wanted from God. He was indeed told “No.” He was told NO in a powerful way and had to endure humiliation and harm beyond human comprehension. Jesus even had the ability to end the suffering himself but chose to take the path God had for Him. In all ways Jesus can identify with us.

The cross was terrible. But the hidden cross was the fact that Jesus chose it because it was God’s will. Jesus didn’t HAVE to go to the cross, He chose to follow God’s will to the death. Jesus was truly tempted during his cross, knowing that every second He could circumvent the process and end it himself. But He didn’t.

That is why He is our model. When God tells us no, we have a Savior who knows what it is like to have God say “No” to the desire of his heart (not to go to the cross.) When we suffer and wonder if God sees our terrible suffering, we have a Savior who suffered and had God turn his very back on him. Jesus accepted God’s “No” without rejecting God’s love and providence. He did not curse God!

When we see our loved ones suffer and ask why, we have a Savior who endured and ultimately asked God “why” without turning His back on God.

Jesus truly understands and knows.

Sometimes it is not our lack of faith that causes us to tread the thorny path, it is our faith that allows us to see the clearing ahead. The clearing will usher us into paradise and glory beyond our menial ability to understand it now.

Jesus died once just like I and you will die once. He shall never die again. We shall never die again if we accept His way to salvation, it is that simple.

Until that time, this world has terrible, awful things that happen. It is a world of crosses and pain. It is an unfair world. A world that fell with the apple and has since been full of the influence of the Snake that would love to see the failure of creation itself. This Snake decieves many into believing that a benevolent God could not coexist with such suffering and thus He must not exist, when in reality the suffering has been a direct result of the Snake himself.

The Bible is truth.
Many have relegated the Bible to allegory, legend, and myth. They are missing the point of the Bible. Those who faithfully inhale its words and accept the Truth have a Light that flips on to shine upon their souls that cannot be covered by the deepest darkness.

As a Christian, I can look forward with anticipation even when looking over the bedrail of a bed in a nursing home because I know that the best is truly yet to be.

Christianity is not the “opiate of the people” but the “God’s chariot for the people.” Just as God sent the chariot in the old testament to take his prophet home, Christianity is our chariot to heaven.

We cannot understand God’s ways but He has given us insight in His Word. I rejoice for a Savior who truly understands and who has never left nor forsaken me. He helps me accept God’s “No” and face death. Death is a doorway to eternity, not a terminal destination for me.

It is so important to share this with others. Today me be the last today we have to share with those we love.

Showing 3 comments
  • Doug Belshaw
    Reply

    I’ve just discovered this other blog of yours, Vicki. Thanks for your inspirational words and work – keep it up! 🙂

  • Jeff
    Reply

    Vicki, I have to tell you, I’m impressed. I’ve read a few of your entries here, having just discovered this blog. This is the first Christian blog I’ve read that has taken a Bible study/sermonette approach. It’s also the first that has the ring of truth and has challenged and convicted me. Thank you for that. I don’t know how you manage to find the time to post on your multiple blogs, but I’ve been impressed with the content of the two I’ve read (this one, and Cool Cat Teacher). Your posts are always well written and useful. And you have a real job and a family! Do you ever sleep?!

    Thanks, and please keep it up.

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    Thank you so much for the True Word Of God. I often heard that God turned his back on Jesus but I could never acturally find those words in the Bible. Now you’ve explaine it fully to me. God bless you always Vicki.

    Betty

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