I want to draw our attention to a deep, extremely human point in the life of Jesus.
We all know that the major purpose of Jesus’ coming was to die on the cross, to be that perfect sacrifice that no one could ever offer, in order for us to be justified before God, and grant us access into God’s presence, both in this life and the life after this one.
And we know that Jesus had that goal in sight for His entire life. It never left His mind, especially as He reached the end of His life and began heading toward Jerusalem.
His crucifixion did not catch Him by surprise. He knew it was coming.
Here’s the kicker: on the night He was betrayed…He didn’t want to go through with it.
This seems like a radical thing to state, but it’s true. Take a look at what it says in the Gospel according to Matthew:
“He (Jesus) went away again a second time, and prayed, saying, ‘O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.'” (26:42; KJV)
Here’s the gist of it: Jesus is basically saying that if there is no other way for this to be done, no other way for humanity to be saved and reconciled to God, then He was willing to go through with it.
Part of me is convinced that Jesus *REALLY* didn’t want to go through with it. He was looking for a way out!
Don’t believe me? Take a look at how the NLT translates it:
“Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, ‘My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”
I actually think my point is made in verse 39, where Jesus says, “‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.'”
Like I said, Jesus didn’t want to go through with this. As the Son of God, He knew full well the pain and suffering He would experience. He had probably seen a few crucifixions during His time on earth and had heard the screams of those who were being hung on crosses.
His cup was coming and He didn’t want to drink it.
What about you? Is there a cup that you need to face? Is there something you are going through, or might be about to go through, that you really wish could be taken away?
Maybe it’s a divorce. Maybe it’s financial ruin. Maybe it’s a complicated surgery or even the burial of someone you love.
We all have those moments, when we are going through something terrible and we cry out to God, and, from my experience, we all cry the same thing:
“Don’t let me go through this! Take this away from me!”
Sound familiar? I know it does to me. I had that exact same cry before I really paid attention to this passage in Matthew (please make sure you check out that whole passage, because we learn great truths just from Jesus’ time in Gethsemane).
I suggest, Church, that we follow Jesus’ example. We should take the time to pray that God takes the cup we are drinking away from us, but we should also approach it with the knowledge that sometimes…wait…all the time…God knows what is best for us.
So, what cup do you need to drink?
Submit to God’s will, understanding that He is working through it, even if you can’t see him.