At times in my life, I have thought to myself, “I just wish Jesus would do what I want him to do.” Most of us as followers of Jesus struggle between living in the Kingdom of God and our kingdoms. It seems we can do our best at times trying to get God to do what we think is best, or as Frank Sinatra might sing, “My Way.” Although we pray as Christians in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” we often do so as long as God’s way doesn’t interfere with what we know best.
On the night when Jesus was arrested in the garden, we are told in Matthew’s Gospel that one of Jesus’ disciples drew his sword, swung wildly at Jesus’ enemies, and cut off the ear of a servant. Immediately Jesus responded in what had to be a tense situation. In Matthew 26: 52-54 we read, “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?” Jesus’ disciple was eager to take control of the situation, make his move, dictate the action, and bring about his desired result. This disciple had a plan, Jesus just needed to get on board.
We all have plans for our lives. We all think we know what is best. I know that I am quick to act, much like the disciple, sword drawn, and make my will be done. Hopefully, Jesus will get the “point” and join me in what I know for sure is the best way forward. “Just follow me Jesus and I’ll show you the way.”
We live in a tension between the Kingdom of God and our futile attempts to take charge, call the shots, and carry out our plans. Jesus calls us back to himself at such times. This is what Jesus did with his disciple. Jesus commands his disciple to put away his sword. Jesus also tells him that he can do the very thing the disciple wanted to do by calling down twelve legions of angels. Instead, Jesus tells the disciple that the scriptures will be fulfilled and must happen in this way. Jesus had submitted to living out God’s will even when there might have been an easier way. Jesus had early on surrendered to God’s will and Jesus would be faithful to God’s Kingdom.
Every day we must surrender to God’s will. It is a challenge as our kingdoms will always want to take charge. But as Jesus told the disciple, we must trust in God’s will and way. In Proverbs 3: 5-6 we read, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” We have to trust in the way of God’s Kingdom. Even when we are tempted to take over, we must let go and trust in the One who is Lord over all things. God’s way will always be better than my way. I just have to put my Kingdom away and trust that God is up to the task of leading the way forward.