Nevertheless … But

March 28, 2013
by Pat Bell

Let's read again the account of Christ at Gethsemane just before His arrest, but this time, watch the words "nevertheless" and "but".

Matthew 26:39 – He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (NKJV)

Luke and Mark also recount Christ's "nevertheless … but" prayer. In our English Bibles, two different Greek words are translated "nevertheless". One is a simple word like "but" that just means "contrariwise". The other Greek word, which is used in this passage, is closer in meaning to "notwithstanding", which implies comparison to something more in quantity, number, or quality — a superlative, the best.

As I mentioned yesterday, I used to believe that as He anticipated His death on the cross, Christ prayed, "Thy will be done" under compulsion, with a grudging attitude of "Oh, all right, if I have to". But I had overlooked the "nevertheless … but".

This year, during meditations for Lent, my attention was drawn to many Scriptures that challenged me to think again. Jesus said:

John 12:24 – Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. (NKJV)

John 16:7 – Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. (NKJV)

Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (NKJV)

Despite the necessary, agonizingly horrible prospect of crucifixion, death, burial — and defeat of evil and resurrection — Jesus determined, Himself, for His Father's "nevertheless, but always more and best" way with calm joy. What He said to Peter at His arrest indicates that He gave Himself willingly to the task as an act of worship:

John 18:11b – Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me? (NKJV)

Jesus' worship and dedication while alive in the flesh, His death on the cross, and His continuing ministry of intercession for us in heaven are all summed up in His prayer to the Father from the garden of Gethsemane, "Thy will be done."

From now on, I will make my "Thy will be done" prayers as conscious, deliberate prayers of worship to God who provides "but always more and best". I want my "Thy will be done" prayers to make joyous dedication of myself to my Maker. How about you?

Prayer: Father, with grateful hearts, we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, enable us to do Your compassionate will of grace! Amen.

About the author:

Pat Bell <llebpat@gmail.com>

Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great again Pat.


    Pat — as usual — thought provoking.


    Pat these two devotionals have so encouraged me. Thank you for sharing them with us. Blessings.


    Amen, Pat!
    Have a wonderful Easter celebrating our risen Saviour!


    AMEN indeed, to everything you have explained over these 2 days.
    Have a blessed Easter.


    My answer to the question is yes! Thanks for the wise and blessed words as we approach Easter. May you be blessed as well, and keep passing the words on.
    (Georgia)


    On this Holy Thursday, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words for us today. I thank God for your gift of sharing and helping reach to brothers and sisters in Christ.
    May God bless you abundantly during this season of Resurrection and New beginnings.


    Good Morning Pat:
    Another message of assurance in that His Word tells us It Was Alone He endured the cross. Alone, but not truly alone, why, because He knew the outcome for mankind because of His Love for Us, and indeed He was part of the great Three In One, the trinity.
    I loved this message.


    This is Maundy Thursday and we begin anew to fathom what Jesus did for us on Calvary. For my husband and I, we are leaving the church we have worshipped in for many years. You might say we are going into an unknown space following Jesus. There is no fear as we do not know what the future holds but know who holds the future. Perhaps our experience can help someone else as we begin to help a street ministry that all ready is started here. As to where we choose to worship only the good Lord will direct — maybe there will be more than one. Thank you Pat for being a part in our understanding.


    Thanks for the follow-up Pat,
    I think the word “willingly” might have been made bold because it is such an important word. I was for years and still am now, to a degree, a K.J.V reader but several years ago I was given and Amplified Bible which made many things clearer and I have different ideas. I really appreciate the way you have made clear this passage. From the very beginning of his ministry to the cross “He was willing to die in our stead”. Brings to mind the shortest, most encompassing prayer.
    “God’s will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else…at any cost.”
    Blessings.


    Dear Pat,
    Good thought!
    (England)

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