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Here is an idea for a quick but fruitful Bible study: read “the Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) alongside the Lord’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). As commentators have noted, there are several verbal parallels between the two passages: “our/my Father” (6:9; 26:39, 42), “into temptation” (6:13; 26:41), and “your will be done” (6:10; 26:42). Thus, the Lord takes upon his own lips the prayer that he taught his disciples. He is the Son of God par excellence. Through agonizing prayer, Jesus’ human will was perfectly conformed to the Father’s will—-or, as the writer of Hebrews puts it, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Heb. 5:8).

But Jesus is more than a good example. He is also our representative. In Gethsemane, the disciples sleep while Jesus is praying their prayer (26:40, 44). He alone watches and prays. He alone is wholly committed to the petition, “Thy will be done.” He alone is the obedient Son of the Father. Thus, Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane is a dramatic enactment of his representative work. Adam disobeyed in a garden of paradise. The Last Adam obeyed in a garden of agony. Meanwhile, his disciples were sleeping in lieu of their eventual abandonment of Jesus. Just another reminder of the gospel: Jesus’ obedience to the Father is the only hope for weak, disobedient, and treacherous people like us.

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