“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22.42
Jesus is here in the Mount of Olives. It is here that the olive, being pressed upon from every side, serves as an illustration of where Jesus comes. Indeed he is being tormented in spirit; his heart is being crushed as his abandonment upon the cross is in full view. He will reach the depths of human brokenness and lift up his voice in prayer. So here he comes to the Mount of Olives to feel and experience the relentless pressure of being forsaken by God.
Matthew tells us that the soul of Jesus is “very sorrowful, even to death”. Why? Why is Jesus here experiencing the uttermost grief and sorrow that a man can take? Why is he on the verge of death as he bears up under this grief? It is because of the infinite price-tag that accompanies the sin of rebels like you and like me. The inflexible and unrelenting cup of divine wrath is fully mixed and the Savior is contemplating the reality of having his head thrust back and drinking it down to the dregs.
There is much application here for us as Christians. See how heinous your sin is that it brings Jesus to the point of physical death when he considers its due penalty? How does your sin affect you? Do you hate it? I mean truly, do you see if for what it is? It is the unashamed rebellion against everything that is right and good; it is your hatred of the glory of God. It is your insistence upon personal supremacy. It is your desire to be God. It is sin and its price-tag is staggering, even for the God-man.
There is a great parallel here for the Christian; when considering sin are you like the disciples? That is asleep and indifferent? Or are you like the Savior? That is sickened and grieved.
Jesus then cries out,
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
We know that the cup is divine wrath and Jesus is getting ready to drink it. Jesus, looking down the barrel of divine wrath, pleads for the cup to be removed. The one thing that Jesus elevates above his fellowship with his Father (which he has intimately enjoyed throughout eternity), is the will of God. Jesus says in effect, “Take this away…I can’t bear to be separated from you….unless, it is your will, for then I will guzzle the cup. For your will is right and good.” O’ that we would learn from our Master here!
If ever there was a moment for the pluralistic, liberal view of Jesus and his ‘universalistic’ salvation to be stated it was here. However, in the echo of the Son of God’s prayer for the cup to be removed what do we hear? Nothing. His prayers of desperation go unanswered. The Father will not remove the cup for there is no other way to have my sin paid for and the glory of God vindicated than to have this perfect, holy, glorious, unblemished, lamb of God be slaughtered on the Calvary’s altar. Yes my sin is pricey. And yes my Savior is awesome!
Jesus continues to bear up under this relentless burden and now he begins to sweat drops of blood. The frosty Palestinian dirt is now being splattered with the blood of Jesus. Christ is in such agony that blood comes out of his forehead and dribbles on the ground. See the weight of the wrath of God. See the hefty price-tag upon your sin. See the faithfulness of the Savior. See his beauty here as he prays ‘fervently’ and sweats clots of blood.
The modern cries for pluralism are extinguished by the only one who saw the depths of human sin, the value of the glory of God, and then went and died for it. Yes, Jesus alone is Savior and Lord.
So friends in Christ, pull up a chair in Luke 22 and see your Savior deal simultaneously with the price-tag for your sin and the immovable righteousness and holiness of God. Come and see him pray, cry, and sweat. And then watch him look his betrayer in the eye and march resolutely to Calvary only to die for betrayers such as us. Amazing. Sit and stare and be amazed, “for while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom. 5.6)