“Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”
-Luke 22:42 (HCSB)
Knowing that he was about to be arrested, tried and crucified, Jesus retreats with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane for prayer. One can’t even begin to fathom how intense and excruciating this moment had to be. Therefore, to no surprise, Jesus’ prayer begins with a plea: Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.
As God in the flesh, Jesus knew what had to be done. But as a human, he felt the weight of the consequences as well.
Ultimately there was no choice. Jesus had to face the cup.
So what exactly is this “cup” that Jesus wants removed? Pain? Suffering? Death? As horrible as those things are, Jesus was facing something much worse.
Going back to the Old Testament, a cup is often used to symbolize God’s wrath and judgment. Those who have sinned against God are told that they must drink from this cup and endure it’s contents. It is essentially a cup filled to the brim with the horror and desolation that comes from being alienated from God the Father.
And Jesus wasn’t facing a single person’s cup… It was the wrath of God due to all humanity for their sinfulness and rebellion. The mere thought of that cup is what made Jesus plead with his Father for it to be taken away. Whips, thorns and nails couldn’t compare.
No wonder his sweat became like blood.
So how do we wrap our minds around a sacrifice so overwhelming? How could we ever acknowledge it with a proper response of thankfulness?
I don’t know. I really don’t. But if I had to answer, I would say this: simply rejoice and rest.
Rejoice in the fact that Jesus not only took your cup, but he actually drank from your cup. The fact that he would even taste our deserved punishment should steer us toward nothing but elation, praise, and celebration. So rejoice!
And rest in the fact that Jesus didn’t just sip your cup, but he emptied your cup. There’s nothing more you can do to atone your relationship with God, because Jesus has done it all. And there’s not an ounce of God’s wrath left for you. When you trust in Jesus’ finished work, you are saved, indeed. So rest.
So I rejoice and rest, knowing that the cup of God’s wrath, specifically directed toward me and designed for me, was willfully drank by Jesus.
Every. Last. Drop.