‘He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”’ (Matthew 26:42)
We have remembered the year of sadness, grief, frustration, anger and loss of our lifestyles, jobs, education, and companionship during this week. On Saturday, our clocks will change to British summertime, and we gain an extra hour of daylight. The following weekend we will remember the Christian celebration of Easter. The night before Jesus was crucified, he ate what has become known as the Last Supper with his disciples. When they had finished, they went to a place called Gethsemane.
‘Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.’ (Matthew 26:36-45)
What agony and distress of soul Jesus must have been in to ask if he might not have to endure the awfulness of the crucifixion. Verses 40-41 highlight the frailty of human flesh when Jesus says, upon finding the disciples asleep, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.
People of all ages are looking forward to the time when we can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, a pot of tea or a drink with family and friends. The cups or glasses we hold will be full as we enjoy fellowship together. However, for many, there will be cups full of sadness and personal loss with little hope for the future. The cup that Jesus spoke about was crucifixion, separation from his Father and justice so that there could be forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Whatever cup we are holding at this point in time, God's Son will already have endured it for us so that we can have strength to face the future in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.