We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Let This Cup Pass–Part 3

As we conclude this three part series on Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer, it is important to note that only Dr. Luke gives us additional information that is not found in the other gospels. What we know so far from Mathew and John is that Jesus was sorrowful, very heavy, exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.

The words “exceedingly sorrowful” carry the idea of extreme grief. The words “very heavy” carry the idea of sated to loathing, from deep distress. Note the important word “death” in this text–Jesus was near “death.” Furthermore, in Luke 22, we read that Jesus was sweating as it were, “great drops of blood.” Medically speaking, Jesus was physically near death. Under severe stress, a person can actually break capillaries, resulting in death.

So here’s an alternative for what Jesus was asking when he asked to let this cup pass from him. The “cup” that Jesus is speaking of is the cup of his present sufferings in the garden. Jesus was actually dying in the garden. Realizing his human, physical limitations and that his desire was to go to the cross and shed his blood as prophesied, Jesus was asking his Father not to let his cup of his present sufferings hinder him from going to the cross.

To make this even clearer, Luke 22 states that an angel came to Jesus and strengthened him. Jesus’ prayer was answered. He was strengthened so that he could go on to the cross. There was much more that went on during that Garden scene than we will ever understand, but one thing is certain, there was nothing stopping Jesus from going to that cross. Why? Because “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24b).

Feeling alone these days? Lost your joy? Continue “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). When we’re willing to endure the cross God sends our way, loneliness will soon be turned to fruitfulness and shame to joy.

Published in: on April 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Let me first thank you for your posts. I have them set as my home page and read your latest post each time I connect to the web.

    I think that what you have suggested here makes some sense, but what then did Jesus mean when he prayed “never the less, not my will, but thine be done”? Does this not suggest that whatever “cup” that he was asking to be spared from was the Father’s will that he drink? This certainly was not dying in the garden, but was the cross.

    I understand your struggle whith the seeming contradiction with Jesus’ saying that he would not ask to be delivered from that hour only later to ask to be delivered. Perhaps the anwser lies in his humanity. During his time with his disciples, as he looked ahead to what his sacrifice would accomplish, of course he had no desire to be delivered from his suffering, but as the time drew near and the immediate struggle was before him, knowing what he would soon suffer, could he not have drawn back in the flesh and desired to be delivered? After all, what caused his agony as he prayed in the first place?
    He was not agonizing only to agonize to be delivered of his agony, but he agonized at the thought of the cross. God Bless.

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