Every Thought Captive

One-Way Love

What did God get when He got you? I know He got a raw deal when He got me. He got someone who doesn’t think about Him very much throughout the day. He got someone who doesn’t talk to Him very much. Someone who would rather live for my little kingdom than for His. Someone who spurns His love to chase after other lovers, thinking that other things can give me what He can’t.

When God chose to set His affection on people, He chose to love people who do not love Him back very well—people who question His goodness, who misunderstand Him, who are unfaithful to Him, who trust more in themselves than they do in Him. So why was Jesus willing to suffer so much in order to get us? The answer is found in Mark 14, where we see that God’s love is one-way love.

The structure of chapter 14 is meant to show us for whom Jesus sacrifices Himself. In verses 10-11, Judas plots with the religious leaders on how to betray Jesus. And in verses 26-31, Jesus predicts how all of the disciples will fall away and desert Him. Sandwiched between Judas’ betrayal and the disciples’ desertion, we have the Last Supper, where Jesus says, “This is My body… And this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” The Last Supper reveals for whom Jesus sacrifices Himself—prideful, selfish cowards who will betray Him, desert Him, and deny ever knowing Him. Jesus sacrifices Himself for unworthy, unfaithful failures, and in verses 32-42, we see God’s one-way love given to people who don’t return it.

The whole of redemption and the fate of the world hangs in the balance in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is faced with the distressful decision of whether to obey His Father or not. Just as the whole of humanity hung in the balance in Genesis 3 on the obedience of Adam over a tree in the garden, the fate of salvation hangs in the balance on the obedience of Jesus over a tree in this garden.

Will Jesus obey the will of His Father and go to the cross, or will He follow His own desires? Will He save Himself, leaving us to pay for sin’s penalty? Or will He sacrifice Himself in order to save us? Mark 14:33-36 reads, “Jesus takes Peter, James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And He said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to the point of death. Remain here and watch.’ And going a little farther, He fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.’” This scene in the garden defines what it means for God’s Son to be in full submission to His Father, but the question at this point is this: Why would the One whose mission is “to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45), now all of a sudden quake before the prospect of death? What caused His soul to be so greatly distressed to the point of death? Why would Jesus ask for the cup to be removed from Him?

Jesus is greatly distressed because He is aware of facing something more than simply His own death. The cup is the cup of God’s wrath. In giving His life as a ransom for many, Jesus is going to take upon Himself every sin of every one of His people throughout all of history, and Jesus is going to stand before God in their place and pay the ransom for their sins. The One, who for all eternity has known the love and pleasure of His Father, is overwhelmed with sorrow at the prospect of facing His Father’s displeasure and rejection. The thought of being separated from His Father caused Jesus more anguish and agony than all the physical pain He would endure.

In verse 36, we see Jesus struggling with this decision, and yet, we also see that His will to obey His Father is stronger than His desire to serve Himself. “Yet, not what I will, but what You will.” Jesus chose to love His Father, and us, above Himself. This love is beyond comprehension. This love is without limits. This love is God’s unique one-way love given to unworthy, unfaithful failures. In the garden, Jesus chose to face His Father’s wrath, because His Father’s love for us is worth more to Him than anything else in the world.

Do you see what Jesus’ decision in the garden means? If Jesus didn’t abandon you in the garden, do you think He will abandon you now? What did God get when He got you? Someone so valuable to Him that Jesus was willing to face His Father’s displeasure and rejection.

When you begin to see how much He loves you and how valuable you are to Him, you will begin to value Him more than anything else in this world.

About the Author

Photograph of Pete Hatton

Pete Hatton

Assistant Pastor - Family Ministries

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Pete is back to Texas after 14 years in enemy territory (Oklahoma). Born in Dallas but raised in Houston, he moved to the foreign country of Connecticut for high school then attended Penn State University, where God developed in him a heart for His Word and His people.

Pete attended Dallas Theological Seminary and Redeemer Seminary and was ordained in 2001. He served as the RUF campus minister at Baylor University for almost eight years. In 2009, Pete planted Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Edmond, Oklahoma and served as Senior Pastor there for 14 years.

He is married to Kristen (SMU alumni), and they have three children: Rebecca, David, and Jonathan. Other “family” members include a very co-dependent yellow lab named Maverick and a cat named Yoda.