By Rufus M. Parker
Webster’s dictionary defines “nevertheless” as: nonetheless; in spite of, or regardless. When we read chapter 26 of Matthew, we find that Jesus had just finished telling His disciples about the kingdom of heaven and preparing them for what was to come next. The religious leaders had conspired against Him to take His life. Jesus had broken the bread and given it to His disciples to eat, telling them that it was His body, which was broken for them. He gave them the cup and informed them that it was His blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sin. But then He said unto them, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when 1 drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). Judas went to the chief priest to betray Him. They had just finished the Last Supper, sung a hymn, and went out into the Mount of Olives. He began to tell them that all of them would be offended because of Him that night, for as it was written, “I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad” “But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee” (Matthew 26:3132). But Peter stated unto him, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” (Matthew 26:33). That was a pretty good brag by Simon Peter.
But Jesus said unto him, “This night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Matthew 26:34). All agreed, “No way!” Then they came to the Garden of Gethsemane, and there He said to the disciples, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder” (Matthew 26:36). He took with Him what some have called His inner circle, Peter, James, and John. Jesus said unto them, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). Notice, He said, “Stay here and watch with me.” He wanted them to stay and pray with Him. Stay here and show that you are with Me. Stay here and show that you are My friend. You see, it is one thing to pray for somebody, but it is another thing to pray with somebody. When I pray for you, I may not feel the same pain you feel, but when I pray with you, I feel what you are feeling. Matthew said, in verse 39, “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” He cried, “Father, let this cup pass from me.” What was in that cup?
• Sin was in that cup.
• The weight of the whole world was in that cup.
• Sorrow was in that cup.
• Bitterness was in that cup.
• Loneliness was in that cup.
• Those who were forsaken were in that cup.
• Rejection was in that cup.
• Death was in that cup.
I know that Jesus was almighty God, manifested in the flesh, but in this instance, He was a human being just like you and I.
No one wants to die; no one wants to suffer. Job did not want to go through what he went through. However, Job got to the point of “nevertheless” when he said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him” (Job 13:15-16). When life does not matter to you, you are moving to the point of nevertheless.
When Jesus came and found the three disciples asleep, He said to Peter, “What? could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-41). Peter, could you not watch just one hour? Peter, the spirit is willing, but you need to understand that the flesh is weak. Have you ever started to pray and your mind just drifted away? That is because the flesh is weak. When Jesus came and found them sleeping again, He just went away and prayed, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39, emphasis mine). What if Peter had not slept during that prayer meeting? I believe he would have kept his flesh under subjection and not cut off Malchus’s ear. Jesus told him to pray that he enter not into temptation. The apostles were tired, but Jesus wanted them to watch and pray with Him. He was truly hurting, knowing that He was getting ready to die. It is like the doctor walking out from ICU and saying, “I’m sorry; there is nothing else we can do.” When that heaviness comes and sorrow takes hold, you need someone to pray with you. You do not want someone to fall asleep. You want someone to get a hold of God to change the situation. After trying to get them to watch and pray with Him, Jesus saw that it was no use and moved to the point of “nevertheless.”
There comes a time in your life when you have to get to the point of “nevertheless.”
• Many other marriages may fail; nevertheless, mine will not fail.
• My spouse may not attend church; nevertheless, I will be there.
• No one else may be worshiping; nevertheless, I will worship.
• No one else may be praising; nevertheless, I will praise Him.
Regardless of what others do, I am going to worship, praise, and serve Him, because He knoweth the way that I take, and when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. We have to get to the point that in spite of circumstances, in spite of conditions, in spite of health, in spite of finances, in spite of fears, we will still worship and we will still praise Him for who He is and what He has done for us.
Paul told Timothy, “I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also
will deny us: if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Timothy 2:10-19, emphasis mine).
Paul was saying to Timothy, “No matter what others say about the resurrection or how many people’s faith waver; nevertheless, the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are His. And let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” In spite of, regardless what others say, it still stands firm as on Christ the solid rock we stand; all other ground is sinking sand. “[We] are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:20-21).
You see, Gethsemane was a place of agony, suffering, tears, betrayal, submission, and victory.
• Agony: Sorrow and heaviness. Death was staring Jesus in the face. Luke stated, “In an agony he prayed . . . and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
• Suffering: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful.” That bitter cup was before Him. You are going to have to go through some things in your life, and not all of them will be pleasant. There are going to be some times of suffering if you live for Jesus. Paul told Timothy, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12).
• Tears: The Bible said He fell on His face and said, “O my Father.” Agony and suffering bring about tears. John recorded, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Jesus had stood on the hill outside Jerusalem and wept, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38). Jesus was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.
• Betrayal: The inner circle was sleeping. The ones He thought He could count on were asleep. Judas went to betray Him, and no one was watching. Peter, pray! The flesh is weak. If they betrayed Me, they will betray you. Understand this: people who will not pray, will betray you.
• Submission: Jesus begged and pleaded with His Father, but He came to the point of submission when He said, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42).
• Victory: He won the victory when He reached the point of “nevertheless.” When you get to the point of “nevertheless” in your life, you will win the victory.
When we fail to pray, the door is opened to temptation and worldly enticement. Prayer is tough duty at times, but we have to move to the point of “nevertheless” in our lives.
The Book of Hebrews speaks of Moses, “[He chose] rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Hebrews 11:25-26). Moses moved to a point of nevertheless when he chose to suffer. I do not care if I suffer afflictions. The rewards of God are more important than the pleasures of the world.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had moved to this point when they stated, “We be not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us. . . . But if not [in spite of, regardless, nevertheless], be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image” (Daniel 3:16-18).
When the spies whom Moses sent returned with their reports of the giants and the fenced walls around the cities, Joshua and Caleb said, “Yes, God is with us, and they are bread for us. We are going to eat them alive, because God is with us and for us.” Joshua and Caleb were saying, “We have to come to the point of ‘so what, there are giants. So what, they have fenced cities.’ We have God on our side, and He will bring us into this land.” Just get to the point that regardless of what it looks like, regardless how big the problem may seem, God is on our side.
The Bible says that Jesus went down to the sea, and Peter and the boys were washing their nets. Jesus got into a boat and began to teach the people. “Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake” (Luke 5:4-6, emphasis mine). I think Peter may have said, “Master, we have toiled all night and have taken nothing. I am tired, and as soon as we get these nets clean I am going home and going to bed.” I think Peter may have further stated, “I have been to every fishing spot I know. This is my profession, and You are a carpenter.” But Peter received a look, something pierced his soul, and he said, “Nevertheless, at Thy word we will let down our net once more.” And when they let down the net, they took in so many fish the net began to break and they cried out for help. I am telling you that when you get to the point of nevertheless, God will work miracles for you.
• When you get to the point of nevertheless, God will fix your broken marriage.
• When you get to the point of nevertheless, God will save your loved ones.
• When you get to the point of nevertheless, God will heal your body.
• When you get to the point of nevertheless, God will fix your finances.
• When you get to the point of nevertheless, God will fight off your enemies.
• When you get to the point of nevertheless, God will give you the desires of your heart.
For if God be for us, who can be against us?
This article “Getting to the Point of Nevertheless” by Rufus M. Parker was excerpted from the book, If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us? This material is copyrighted and may be used for study & research purposes only.