And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” 35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will,” (14:34-36).
My heart aches every time I read the account of perfect, sinless Jesus falling to the ground in the garden, alone and grieved to the point of death. How painful it must have been for the Father to hear the cries of His Son, and seemingly turn a deaf ear. But He is not deaf. He is perfectly holy, sovereign, just and merciful. The Father’s great grace and mercy refused to remove His Cup; for if He had there would be salvation for none.
Consider His Cup
It is sobering and grievous, considering His Cup. It seems the disciples did not fully comprehend what was about to take place; otherwise how could they have slept in the garden? They were sharing an intimate and holy night, an annual worship service, the Passover meal, wine and fellowship.
When He spoke of the blood of the covenant, they were possibly remembering the Passover Lamb, commemorating God’s great deliverance out of Egypt.
As devout Jews they would have understood the need for blood to make atonement for sins, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement,” (Leviticus 17:11).
Still I wonder if His disciples had ever seriously considered the inhumane treatment awaiting their Messiah; I wonder if they knew He was the true “Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world,” (John 1:29) and His blood would be excruciatingly shed on a cross, poured out for many.
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” (14:23-24).
But Jesus knew; He knew what awaited Him. He would drink His Cup, the cup of God’s holy and just wrath against sin.
For a cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams;
It is well mixed, and He pours out of this;
Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs, (Psalm 75:8).
Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger;” (Revelation 14:9-10).
The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath, (Revelation 16:19).
God’s wrath must be poured out. When Jesus drank His Cup He became sin and received the punishment we all deserve. And for all who believe and place their faith in His sacrifice on their behalf, the wrath of God is satisfied.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, (2 Corinthians 5:21).
How are we to respond to His Cup?
- We must respond in faith as we fully trust in His atoning sacrifice for our redemption and justification.
- … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith, (Romans 3:23-25 NIV).
- He invites us to come in faith, to drink and fill ourselves, not from His Cup of wrath, but from His Cup of eternal life.
- “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life,” (John 4:14).
- As we respond in faith, trusting Him alone for our salvation, we receive the overflowing cup of blessing, His Holy Spirit.
- Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified, (John 7:37-39).
- The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; (Psalm 16:5).
- …My cup overflows, (Psalm 23:5).
- How can our response be anything other than overflowing gratitude for Him Who chose to drink His Cup, that we would be saved?
- giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light, (Colossians 1:12).
- For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9).