"FACING THE CUP "
April 3, 2017
And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly ... (Luke 22:44a).
Read Luke 22:39-46
After the Last Supper we read, "He came out and went, as was His custom, to the Mount of Olives." Judas knew that custom well. He knew where he could lead the temple police to arrest Jesus. By choosing this place and not a location unknown to Judas, Jesus is already surrendering Himself to His Father's plan.
Jesus instructs His disciples to pray. He then withdraws from them, kneels down and prays, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me." This cup is God's furious wrath at all our sins. Drinking down that punishment will be bitter and deadly. But Jesus submits Himself to His Father's grand design: "Not My will, but Yours, be done."
The Father sends an angel to strengthen Jesus' body. He did the same after Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness, being tempted by Satan. This angel strengthens and renews Jesus' human mind and body to fully face the horror of the wrath of God coming upon Him.
But the struggle is not yet over. Jesus still dreads the cup the Father holds out for Him. We see the intensity of Jesus' struggle as Luke the physician writes, "His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Tiny blood vessels under the skin can rupture under extreme stress, permitting blood to mingle with the sweat. The struggle lasts for hours before Jesus is finally at peace. He rises to His feet, ready to drink the cup down to its dregs.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Your bitter sufferings in the garden prepared You for the fiery trial to come. Give me grace and strength to pray to You in the darkest hours of my life, for my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. Amen.