‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.’
‘This cup’ is an image of wrath and of suffering, when read against the Old Testament (e.g. Psalm 11:6; Jeremiah 25:15-16; Ezekiel 23:31-34), and other references to ‘cup’ in the New Testament (e.g. Matthew 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39 [strangely, Luke has no parallel to these passages]; Revelation 14:9-10; 16:19).
Why does Jesus face ‘this cup’?
Space does not permit a full discussion of the significance of Jesus’ death but we do not do justice to the full witness of the New Testament if we downplay the cross as the place on which sacrifice for sin was made, victory over evil was secured, the depths of God’s love for us was demonstrated, and an example of righteous martyrdom was shown.
‘This cup’ particularly points to the cross as the place on which the wrath of God against sin was borne by Jesus as the final and full sacrifice for the sin of the world. For Jesus to receive this cup was to receive the cup of unimaginable suffering.
So we read on about ‘agony’ and ‘sweat … like great drops of blood falling down to the ground’ (22:44).[i]
We may be prompted to ask why Jesus as Son of God needs an angel to help strengthen him. (Surely it was not because of the frailty of Jesus but because of the magnitude of the suffering he faced).
PS There was no great win for the NZ cricket team yesterday. A small shadow was cast over the sunny uplit days of late summer :(