February 23: The Great Exchange

Read Matthew 26:36-56 or Matthew 26:1-75

Long before He knelt in the Garden, Jesus had entrusted Himself to the Father, even as the Father had entrusted His beloved Son with the call to bear man’s sin, save His people, kill off death. Still, as His impending torture and insufferable pain approached, He needed one more moment of heart-to-heart time with the Father. He needed the kind of praying in which He would exchange His own will for the will of the Father.

We know from Luke that His time in that garden, swelled with such heaviness that blood wept from His pores. Before Jesus shed His blood on the cross, He sweat His blood in the garden and shed His will for the will of the Father in the great exchange.

“. . . (N)evertheless . . .”

So when the soldiers approached and Judas kissed Him for the price of a piece of land, the heavy lifting of sin’s burden had already begun. And when Peter swung his sword at that servant’s head, Jesus had to put Peter in his place for trying to thwart the perfect plan of God.

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way” (vv. 53, 54)?

Jesus had exchanged the temptation to avoid His call to suffer with what He knew to be the Father’s perfect will. He knew that in His very breath He held the power to obliterate those who’d come to lead Him into torture. But He had handed it to the Father, committed to drink His bitter cup. Jesus had determined not to call His angels to task. He chose the pain and trusted the Father to fulfill His perfect plan.

His example gives us hope. You and I can choose the Father’s way over our own desire to avoid the uncomfortable, the suffering, possible pain. So you’ve been called to visit your recently widowed neighbor but your heart doesn’t want to and your schedule is already full. Choose His way. Risking ridicule or worse, you can resolve to speak truth when your boss encourages you to lie to protect the department. The only time you can find to be alone with Him and listen to His Word is early in the morning, but you really like your sleep. Exchange what you want for what He wants.

Choose to trust the Father.




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