The Cup of Suffering

On the night He was betrayed, Yeshua asked “that the hour might pass Him by.” How could the Master suppose that it might be possible for God to change the plan?

The cup over which Yeshua prayed contained the suffering of a great trial and torturous death. (Image © Bigstock)

The Master knelt to pray, but under the angst that weighed on His righteous soul, He “fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by” (Mark 14:35. He prayed regarding the “hour” of His suffering, the hour of the great apocalyptic clash between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness. He prayed regarding the cup He must drink. He cried out, “Abba! Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matthew 26:39).

The biblical prophets often spoke of God’s judgment, punishment, and wrath as the contents of a cup that must be consumed. The Master was not under God’s wrath, but He drank of God’s wrath on behalf of others. The cup over which Yeshua prayed contained the suffering of a great trial and torturous death. He spoke of the same cup when He asked James and John, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?” (Mark 10:38). Only a few hours earlier, He told His disciples, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:20).

Yeshua said, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” and He prayed, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me” (Mark 14:36). Yeshua’s prayers in Gethsemane were consistent with the model of prayer He taught His disciples. He told them to pray persistently, with simple faith, appealing to God’s goodness, and pleading with Him not to lead them into trial. The biblical heroes did not hesitate to ask God to change His mind. Abraham negotiated for Sodom. Moses often interceded to change the LORD’s mind about destroying the generation in the wilderness. He pleaded with God to change His mind about barring Him from the Promised Land. The biblical prophets frequently beseeched God to reverse a difficult judgment against Israel. King Hezekiah implored God to reverse His will about his impending death.

Yeshua knew that “all things are possible” for God, and if all things are possible, then it was possible that He might allow Him to forego the suffering. He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me” (Luke 22:42).

Is anything too difficult for the LORD? Nothing will be impossible with God. Nevertheless, Yeshua conceded, “Not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).Yeshua desired to forego the dreadful trial ahead of Him, but, as He told the disciples only hours earlier, “I love the Father; I do exactly as the Father commanded me” (John 14:31).

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