Walking to the Cross - Part 1
Updated: Apr 8
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Luke 22v39-45 (NIV)
Not once, but twice Jesus says: 'Pray that you will not fall into temptation.' Perhaps it's an indication of just how easy it is for us to fail and fall! Temptation is not sinful. Our problem is we don’t resist it or reject it. We willingly enter into it. We fall into following our own desires. Just like Adam and Eve and the Disciples we fall into temptation. Instead of saying, ‘God’s will be done’ we say, ‘My will be done’. Jesus also faced temptation, but never did he fall. He was without sin. As Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives, he overcomes temptation for us and obeys the will of the Father for us.
First, Jesus drinks the cup of suffering for us. 'And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.'
Jesus is in great physical and emotional agony, and is so overcome with fear he starts to sweat blood. Why? Jesus must drink the 'Cup'. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of this cup: 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.” (Jeremiah 25v15-16) It’s a dramatic picture of God’s judgement, the punishment that God will pour out on all of us who willingly fall into temptation and say: ‘My will be done’. The cup is so unbearable Jesus pleads: 'Father, if you are willing take this cup from me.' This is the cup Jesus must drink for you and for me.
Second, Jesus prays the prayer of submission for us.
This is not some rehearsed drama that Jesus must now act out. Jesus is facing the reality of God's judgement - Father, is there some other way we can do this? Father, can you take the cross from me? Jesus resists temptation and in obedience to the Father he prays: ‘Not my will, but your will be done.’ We fall into temptation so easily. We fail to resist our will. Jesus submits to his Fathers will. Jesus is the only one who stands strong in the face of temptation. You see Jesus knows the only way we can be free from God’s judgement, is to drink the 'cup' for us. Although Jesus never disobeyed, in love he comes and takes all my disobedience on himself. On the Cross Jesus is treated as the one who falls into temptation for me. Jesus makes my sin his own, so that I can be free from God’s judgement.
Imagine you are holding a cup in your hand. You look into it and see that it is the cup of God’s judgement. To drink it means separation from God – Hell itself.
You have no choice but to drink it. Standing before you is Jesus. In love he reaches out and takes the cup from your hands and drinks it. He drinks it dry, so there is nothing left for us to drink. When Jesus died on the cross, he drank the judgement for you and for me.
Father, please forgive me for the many times I willingly enter into sin and say, 'My will be done'. Thank you Jesus that you said 'Yes' to the Father and obeyed His will for us. Thank you for drinking the cup of judgement so that I don't have to.