They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” (Lk. 23:35, NIV)
Jesus had the most powerful prayer life of anyone who ever lived. He also was incredibly smart, influential, and gifted. If anyone has ever been capable of making things happen, it would be Jesus.
However, Jesus understood that prayer and spiritual gifts, resources and relationships, God-given talents and skills, are all to be used God’ way, for God’s purposes. They are not meant to be the personal property of an individual.
So, as Jesus faced an undeserved death, He did not call on His friends to defend Him—in fact, He told Peter to put away His sword. In spite of His own remarkable rhetorical skill, Jesus made no effort to persuade Pilate or the chief priests not to execute Him. Although His prayers stopped storms, fed thousands, healed the blind, and turned water into wine, He refused to use prayer for His own purposes. “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Mt. 26:53, NIV) He asked His disciples. Obviously He could. But the point is, He didn’t.
It’s not that Jesus wanted to be crucified. His anguished prayer in Gethsemane (Lk. 22:42) tells us that. It’s just that Jesus never wanted to live outside His Father’s will. He never acted on His own. He never used His powers for selfish purposes. Saving Himself was not His highest goal; being one with His Father was.
God has also given you spiritual gifts, talents, spheres of influence, skills, and the privilege of prayer. Does Jesus’ example of laying these aside in order to trust God and live out His purposes inspire you? Make you uneasy? Talk to Him about what you are thinking and feeling. If you need to, ask forgiveness for using what He has given you to “make things happen” for your personal benefit. Ask God to help you trust Him with His purposes for your life—then offer the gifts He’s given you back to Him to be used however He sees best.