[stextbox id=”info”]Mk 14:36 “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”[/stextbox]
I’ve read a few times where people have looked at this passage of scripture and believed it to mean that Jesus was afraid of the death that was about to happen to him.
Looking at this scripture in that manner begs the question “How can Jesus experience fear?”.
Since Jesus cannot experience fear; as in being afraid of something, then this passage must mean something else.
If we look at the whole section which refers to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, and bring that into line with other scriptures, we can see that Jesus was not fearing death, infact, there is no fear at all.
If we look at Mark 14:34 we read:
And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”
In order to understand why Jesus would ask for the cup to be taken away from him, we need to recognize what was going on.
This was the final hour where Jesus had enagaged the enemy, the battle had begun against the powers of darkness
Luke 22:53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
John 14:30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.
John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now fthe ruler of this world will be cast out.
Jesus made it clear that in the final hour, it would be the hour of the power of darkness. This would be the hour that the weight of the sins of the world would be laid upon him; the sorrows of the world, sickness, every wrong thing, all laid upon his shoulders. How could any man bear the reality of what was happening to Jesus in this final hour – how could any man bear this cup? But this is what Jesus was going through.
Luke 22:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
There was nothing happening to his physical body at this time, he was in a spiritual battle, it was so much for him that he asked if there was another way. Jesus was not seeking to disobey the Father, if he was, he would not have said, but not my will, Jesus was in agony with the weight of the sins of the world that was laid upon him and he was seeing if their was another way because of the suffering he was going through.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted. Is 53:4
We can get an idea of that suffering in that he sweat blood without any physical injury occurring.
In this final hour, Jesus was bearing the cup of suffering and was seeking release but at the same time willing to bear it in order to do the Fathers will.
What was the Fathers response to Jesus request?
Lk 22:43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
He was strengthened.
Jesus showed his humanity here, he was not a man being tempted and he was not a man in fear of death. Jesus was a man bearing the weight of the sins of the world where at one point it got so much for him, he sought release but was still willing to go through with it.
So I think we can see that when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, he was not experiencing fear and was not asking the Father to bail out of dying on the cross, but was taking on all that the Father laid upon him, and it weighed him down so much that he was asking if there was another way, but still willing to go through it according to the will of the Father.
When we think of this, I also think of the scripture that says that God was willing to crush him.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Is 53:10
We must not forget in all of this that Jesus affirmed his willingness to lay down his life for us.
Jn 10:17–18 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”