Summary: What did Jesus really see in the cup of his Father’s will while praying at Gethsemane?
What Was In The Cup?
Several years ago I had an uncle that was in the hospital preparing for open heart surgery. I went into his hospital room early on the morning of surgery and we talked a little about the surgery and I asked him if he was scared. He responded quickly with, "No!"
He told me that he was praying the night before with quite a bit of anxiety. The Lord spoke peace to his heart by reminding him of all that Jesus had suffered
just before and on the Cross. He told me that if Jesus endured such pain for him, then he would be willing to endure what was necessary to be a witness for Christ. At that point in our conversation the surgical nurses came to take him back to surgery. I prayed with him and on the way out of the room he asked me a question..... "What was in the cup?", he asked. I replied with confusion.... and he said, "You remember, Jesus was praying at Gethsemane about the cup", I responded that I remembered the passage, but I didn’t understand the question. As he was rolled down the hallway he asked me one more time...., "What was in the cup?". For the next four or five hours I dare say I was in more agony than he was in that operating room. I grabbed a Gideon Bible that was in the waiting room and began to study and pray. I knew that when he came out of that surgery and had a day or so to get his bearings, he would be quizzing me concerning his question about the cup. So I studied and prayed..... I was right, when he came out of that surgery and recovered, we had the discussion about the cup... and here is what the Lord (and my uncle Jimmy)
inspired me to see:
Matthew 26:36-46 (Read)
Here is Jesus approaching the betrayal and the cross as he enters this garden to pray. You can’t help but sense the anxiety in His words. What is that would cause the very Son of God to sweat as it were great drops of blood? What is it that would cause the Son of God to return to that spot in the garden three times to pray the same words?
What, you ask? I would submit to you that it is "What Was In The Cup"!
I considered how the text started in Matthew 26:36 by stating that "then cometh Jesus....." That was the name above every name. In that garden He was not referred to as Christ... though He was and is. You see, the name Christ refers to His deity and authority as the second person of the Godhead. Yet, when we see Jesus in this garden we see him filled with anxiety.
So... we see Him as Jesus. That is the name of his flesh, the name He was given 700 years before by the prophecy of Isaiah. He truly is Christ, fully God; but He truly is God with us (Jn.1:14), fully man! Nowhere else in scripture do we see the humanity of Jesus like we do in this passage. What caused such anxiety? What did Jesus see in that cup?
Perhaps on the first stop to pray Jesus looked into
the cup of the Father’s will and w/out a doubt He
was confronted with sin. Not just some sin, but
the sin of all the world. Rom.5:12 would tell us
that when Jesus looked into that cup He saw the sin
of all the world from Adam to the last sinner that
will ever be present on earth. He saw all sin,
past, present and future. You may ask why this
would cause anxiety in the Son of God. Jesus was
familiar with sin, but He Himself was spotless and
never had sinned. But now, He was about to become
sin (2 Cor. 5:21). This must have caused Jesus
anxiety as He looked into the cup! But there was
Jesus was not caught by surprise by the suffering,
but I believe that when He was praying in the
garden, it all became so real because now the hour
had come. We all know that our life (if we live
long enough)will be stricken with a certain amount
of suffering. We will all be betrayed by someone
we considered a friend, we will all face death in
some form... some of which will cause a great deal
of suffering and pain through disease or accident.
My point is this; just because we know that
suffering is going to come, it doesn’t make it any
easier to handle when it actually happens. Jesus
knew He would suffer and die (Luke 9:22). But now