"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. When they had gone a short distance, Jesus said, “My soul is overwhelmed. My sorrow is so deep that it is about to kill me! Stay here, pray, and keep watch with me.” He left the three disciples and went a little further. Then he 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? Don’t make me go through this terrible time of torture and separation from You. But ultimately I want to accomplish Your will—not mine!” Jesus knew that he was facing far more than the physical pain of crucifixion. His death would be the first (and only) time he would ever be separated from his Father. His reason for coming to earth was to take away the sins of the world (see #215 - Jesus is Baptized). On the cross, every sin ever committed would become his. And the penalty for these sins was spiritual death—separation from God. This is what he dreaded most. That agonizing separation would be the worst consequence of his death. He would literally experience hell—a place without God! Jesus’ heart and soul were in agony as he talked this over with his Father. When Jesus returned to check on his three disciples, all three of them were asleep! He woke Peter up 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 your spirit is willing, but your body is weak.” Jesus went back to pray. This time he said, “Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.” He went back to check on his disciples and found them asleep again. They were exhausted and could not stay awake. Jesus kept praying. 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. He woke them and said, “The hour has come, and it is time to go. My betrayer is on his way here 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, they carried torches and lanterns, and they were led by Judas. Judas knew where Jesus would be because 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 never have to! Have you accepted the agonizing sacrifice he made for you? It won’t cost you anything, but it cost Jesus everything!