Read: Mark 14:27-52
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36
The passage today is a look into the last night the disciples would spend with Jesus before the crucifixion. Jesus is preparing the disciples for the events of the next few days – events that would change the course of history.
After celebrating Passover, the text tells us, “They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’ he said to them. ‘Stay here and keep watch.’” He goes on, “Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’”
When Jesus refers to the “cup”, I always thought he was simply referring to the crucifixion, the physical agony that He would endure. But come to find out, that’s not what He was referring to at all. The “cup” in the Old Testament refers to judgement from the hand of God. It refers to the wrath of God that was poured out on the godless. What Jesus was sweating drops of blood over was the thought of experiencing the utter terror of His Father’s wrath.
This passage from Welwyn Commentary Series: Mark-A Ransom For Many explains it so well:
“The language is vivid, fearful, extreme we might say. But we have to stress the reality of the wrath of God because many today do not understand it or else deny it. This is what the Bible teaches us about God’s response to our sin – our sin which is an outrage against him. What we call God’s wrath is his perfect, pure, just, steady and unending hostility to sin. His wrath means condemnation, eternal punishment, deadly separation and outer darkness. All who stand in rebellion against this holy God are destined to face this wrath, to drink this cup. There in the garden, this is what Jesus now sees ahead of him. He knows he is going to the cross; and he knows why. He knows that he will face the wrath of God poured out on him, personally and directly, in place of millions of those whose penalty he is paying. He will become our substitute, to spare us from the wrath so that we will be free. He knows it – and he needs no word pictures to describe what it will be like. For us, God’s wrath is unimaginable; but the Lord Jesus knows it vividly, from the inside.”
I think a lot about what Jesus’ death on the cross won for me: a new life now, a way back to my Father, freedom from the burden of sin and regret, an eternity with the Creator and Ruler of the universe. What I don’t often imagine is what His death on the cross saved me from: the cup of God’s wrath, an eternity separated from Him, living in the agony and pain of the consequences of my sin.
And He didn’t have to do it. He chose obedience. He chose the cup – our cup. His love is fathomless, His mercy is endless. Oh, the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Lord Jesus, thank You, thank You, thank You. I pray that my life would honor You, Lord. In your name, amen.