There are many things that amaze me about Jesus. It seems the more I learn about Him the more I find that amazes me. Without doubt I believe He was sinless. Despite the fact He had a group of Disciples that at times acted like children and at other times like knuckleheads. He was constantly around the Pharisees and Sadducees dealing with their attitudes and He never sinned. He was around people like me that can exasperate others and He never sinned. He spent 40 days and nights fasting in the desert and was then tempted by the Adversary and never sinned. He would deal with all kinds of people with all kinds of issues and He never sinned. From birth to death, He never sinned. He has always been and will always be and He will never sin.
He would go to the Garden and ask if there was a way that the “cup” could pass from Him and it was not sin. This time in the Garden has been on my mind a great deal lately. Why did He ask this? What prompted it?
What occurred in the Garden is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Interestingly, John who was one of the three that went further into the Garden with Him doesn’t write about this time. This would occur right after the completion of the Last Supper, after Jesus would wash the feet of His Disciples, including Judas. After telling Peter of his upcoming denials.
He would take all of the Disciples, except for Judas who would arrive a little later with some friends, to the Garden of Gethsemane. As they arrived He told them to sit down, He was going a little farther to pray. He would take three with Him: Peter, John and James. As the four of them went on farther, He would tell them that He was becoming increasingly sorrowful and for them to sit and keep watch.
Jesus would go on farther, falling on His face and ask:
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26: 39b (NIV).
This would occur two more times. What prompted Him to ask this? Was it his human side or the Holy side? Was it both?
We probably tend to think that it was His human side that led to these requests. After all, how many of us would be willing to go through the torture He did and then end up nailed on a cross? How many of us consider it suffering to read the Bible daily or make time each day to talk with the Father? Human nature being what it is, seeks to avoid any sacrifice, especially physically painful sacrifice.
Then there was His fully God side, His Holy side. This is where I believe His motivation came for asking to have this cup pass from Him. And on the surface that seems to be a contradiction. But I don’t believe it is.
The Father has always been and so has the Son. That’s difficult to wrap your mind around but I believe it. The Father and Son had always had fellowship and communion with each other. Granted, when Jesus came to earth it did create a physical separation but the fellowship and communion continued. Jesus time and time again said that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him. This constant fellowship was the source of strength to overcome the temptation after 40 days fasting in the desert and dealing with all of the people. That fellowship, just like the Father and Son, had always been.
But that constant fellowship was about to come to an end. And the cup was the very thing that would end it. Did Jesus realize this? I believe He did. I believe He cherished this fellowship with His Father so deeply that He could not bear to think that it would come to an end. Granted, it would be restored but for a short time Jesus would experience no fellowship with His Father. I believe that He dreaded that moment so much, it caused Him to sweat blood.
Three times He would ask and each time acknowledge that it was His Father’s will that was most important. Jesus could have stopped it Himself but didn’t, it was the Father’s will that was most important to Him. More important than maintaining the fellowship with Him.
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” Matthew 27:46 (NKJV).
Jesus would drink from that cup the wrath of God for our sins, not a single sin had He committed. Because He loves us that much, He lost fellowship with His Father so that you and I would have an opportunity to have that same fellowship with not only the Father but with His Risen Son as well.
So how important is your fellowship with Jesus?
Jesus lived a life forsaking all sin so that He could maintain fellowship with the Father. How often do we live forsaking fellowship with Jesus so that we can maintain our fellowship with sin? Jesus gave up fellowship with His Father, He had never known anything else until He obediently took that cup for your sin, for my sin.
Maybe it was both sides of Him that motivated the requests to have the cup pass. But I believe it was His Holy side that meant more, after all He had lived a human life of humbleness and poverty. No matter which, as followers of Christ we have received the greatest gift of sacrifice and love the world will ever know.
So how important is your fellowship with Jesus? Are you willing to forsake sin to maintain it? Are you willing to carry your cross daily to keep it in tact? Or are you willing to sacrifice it so you can maintain your fellowship with sin?
Confess, repent and forsake your sin and run to the Cross!
- Matthew 26:36-46
- Mark 14:32-42
- Luke 22:39-46