276 - “Please Take this Cup Away!”
OCTOBER 3 - Nº 276 Matthew 26:36-47; Mark 14:32-43; Luke 22:39-47; John 18:1-3
As they continued up the Mount of Olives, Jesus and his 11 remaining disciples came to a grove of olive trees. The place was called the Garden of Gethsemane. As they entered the garden, Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go a little further to pray.” He invited Peter, James, and John to accompany him. Jesus addressed the three he had chosen to go with him, “My soul is overwhelmed. My sorrow is so deep that it is about to kill me! Stay here, pray, and keep watch with me.” Then he left them and walked even further into the garden. Jesus fell on his knees and started to pray. “Abba, Father,” he cried out from his heart. “I know that everything is possible with you. If it is Your will, would You please take this cup (this assignment) away from me?” Jesus fully understood the physical pain he was about to experience. He knew that he was facing a brutal beating and that he was about to endure the excruciating torture of crucifixion. However, these thoughts were not the source of his intense grief. Jesus was struggling with the spiritual agony of knowing that he would soon be separated from his Father. Although Jesus had never sinned, every sin ever committed (in the past, the present, and the future) would soon be charged to him. And the penalty for even one of those sins was spiritual death—separation from God! Jesus was literally going to experience hell—a place without God! His heart and soul were in agony as he talked this over with his Father. When he returned to check on his disciples—they were asleep! Jesus woke Peter and asked, “Aren’t you able to keep watch for one hour? You need to stay awake and pray so that later you will not be tempted to leave me. I know that your spirit is willing, but your body is weak.” Jesus went back to talk with his Father. This time he prayed, “Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.” Jesus knew that the ultimate reason he had come to earth was to become the perfect sacrifice that would take away the sins of the world (see #215 - August 3)! There in the garden, he submitted to God’s plan. “Not my will, Father, but Yours be done!” Jesus went back to check on his disciples and found them asleep again. They were exhausted and could not stay awake. But Jesus kept praying. By this point, he was in so much anguish that his sweat became like droplets of blood. At some point an angel from heaven appeared and gave him strength. Jesus returned to his disciples. Once again, they were asleep. This time he woke them up and said, “The hour has come, and it is time to go. My betrayer is on his way right now! I am about to be given into the hands of sinners.” While Jesus was still speaking, a large crowd of soldiers and religious leaders arrived in the garden. They were armed with swords and clubs and carried torches and lanterns. Judas had led them there. He knew exactly where Jesus would be. They had often come to this garden together.
Jesus was willing to endure the most painful experience possible—separation from his Father—so that we don’t have to! Have you accepted the agonizing sacrifice he made for you so that you can live with God for eternity? Our sins cost Jesus everything!