The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"If It Be Possible"
"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me" (Matthew 26:39).
Was it possible for the cup of suffering and sorrow known by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary to pass? Certainly, in terms of capability, it was. "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53).
In terms of character, however, it was not possible for the cup to pass. "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all… It was impossible for God to lie" (Isaiah 53:5-6; Hebrews 6:18).
Had the Lord Jesus prayed for the dispatch of angels, and had the Father answered, the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament would have crashed on the rocks of lies and dishonesty. Not a trace of such insincerity exists in the heart of God. "Without iniquity, just and right is He" (Deuteronomy 32:4). Thus, it was not possible that the Lord Jesus could have been rescued from Calvary. "Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this cause came I unto this hour" (John 12:27).
The importance of this truth regarding God's nature and way cannot be overstated. First, His character ever and forever guides His capability. "Thou art good and doest good" (Psalm 119:68). He can do nothing that conflicts with the perfection of His spiritual and moral nature. Thus, He could not have dispatched the angels to save the Lord Jesus from "this hour."
"God… cannot lie" (Titus 1:2).
The Savior prayed accordingly - "if it be possible" - knowing that His humanity was being severely tempted in the moment. He overcame the challenge, making possible our eternal redemption. "In all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). The Lord Jesus well knew the truth of character first, then capability, and prayed accordingly.
We also learn much about our own praying in this account of our Lord's trial and response to God. We learn the "if it be possible" of seeking our Heavenly Father's working. Indeed, we sometimes ask for things that seem to align with Scripture and our understanding of God's will. However, His purposes and promises may not allow for answers in accordance with His character. Indeed, had we came upon Calvary and watched an obviously righteous man suffer and die at the hands of the unjust, we might well have prayed for His deliverance. No answer would have been forthcoming because at stake would have been the integrity of the Answerer. This principle holds true regarding every prayer for others and ourselves we will ever pray. "This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us" (I John 5:14).
We do well to sincerely sprinkle our requests with "If it be possible." Certainly, we have the most striking of examples to encourage such an attitude and expression of our hearts toward God. "I do always those things that please Him" declared the Lord Jesus, including prayers offered in the most extreme of circumstances (John 8:29). Yes, God's character always guides His capabilities. His purposes and promises always direct His answer to our prayers. The Son who prayed "if it be possible" now lives in those who believe, leading us to pray with confidence, but also with the awareness that we can be tempted to ask for that which seems proper, but which may be impossible for a righteous and faithful God to answer. How we should praise Him for such integrity, righteousness, and the impossibility of answering prayers that conflict with the perfection of His nature.
"The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works."
Weekly Memory Verse
"The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way."