He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.” Then he came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Once again he went away and prayed, saying the same thing (14:35-39 CSB).
View the manner in which he faced this supreme trial.
Jesus faced it with complete self-control. You can see this part in his interaction with his disciples. Though he faced unspeakable horror, he also exercised self-control, so that he could minister to them. Such self-control is certainly the fruit of the Holy Spirit, through whom Jesus exercised his ministry. A day is coming in your life when you will need such a strong Savior to get you through life’s hardest times. Some of you are in or almost in the hardest time of life: old age. This is the season of life when you lose your friends, you lose your spouse, you lose your money, and you lose your health. But in such a time, you can rely on Jesus. He has the strength you need.
Jesus faced it with prayer. Jesus did not hesitate to bring this concern to his Father. He spoke that tender word of affection: “Abba”. This is awe-inspiring! Though he knows that the Father’s all-powerful hand is posed to strike him, Christ walks toward that hand in humble prayer. It is too great a thought for me to present. May God give you grace to understand! Jesus continued in prayer. Three times he prayed the same thing. And Luke tells us that each time, his intensity increased.
How are your prayers? Are they increasing in number and fervency? Is your trust deepening as you pray? Move toward the Father. Draw near. Jesus died so that we go boldly to the throne of grace.
View his submission to do God’s will.
It is impossible to understand fully what the Lord Christ experienced here (14:36). Part of the difficulty is that he is unique—both God and man. How his two natures interacted in his one person is beyond our categories of thought. How much of divine knowledge mingled with his Spirit-given understanding of God’s word is not revealed.
However, Christ Jesus truly experienced great conflict at the thought of his penal-substitutionary suffering for sinners. He, pure and holy, had to bear human sin—the sin of many—and pay the full price. Consider Hebrews 5:7. During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission (NIV). Yet in all this he was obedient. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered (Hebrews 5:8 NIV).
In spite of the conflict, Christ determined to God’s will. He left all options to God’s will (Mark 14:36; cf. Matthew 26:39, 42). We all have too much of a demanding attitude in our prayers. We can fall apart when we don’t get our way. How precious is God’s will to you? Christians get so wrapped up in wanting to know God’s will for their lives—until it crosses theirs. I could give many examples, but I’d probably pick out ones that I haven’t had problems with, at least yet anyway. But be honest with yourself before God. Are you willing to let God choose for you and then to be content? Really?
In God’s will, Jesus would drink the cup. This cup is spoken of in the Old Testament (Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15-16) and in the New Testament (Mark 10:38; Revelation 14:10; 16:19). Is anyone glad for the Savior who would drink the cup in the place of people like you and me? And so, Jesus went forth to do God’s will (14:42)! Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ!
My friend, have you ever really turned from your rebellion against God to seek undeserved mercy at the feet of the Lord Jesus? I plead with you now. Today is the day of salvation. Come and receive the free gift of salvation.
Grace and peace,