Doing the Will of God
“And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.””
After the Passover supper on what became known as Maundy Thursday in Holy Week (Maundy means mandate, the commandment to love one another), Jesus and the disciples, without Judas who left early to find the Sanhedrin leaders, retreated to a favorite garden on the Mount of Olives known as Gethsemane. Jesus faces His ultimate test and retreats into agonizing prayer, asking that “this cup” be removed from Him, but He knows it will not and God’s will shall be done.
This is the pivot point for the Universe of God and humans, when the Savior accepts His fate. He knows that He will suffer torment and agony in the next few hours, along with the derision of the Jewish leaders who want Him to die. He also knows that the “cup” is much more than the suffering and death. The cup is the wrath of God poured out on our sins. Bible expert and commentator David Guzik has the following analysis (reference Blue Letter Bible):
The cup didn’t represent death, but judgment. Jesus was unafraid of death, and when He had finished His work on the cross – the work of receiving and bearing and satisfying the righteous judgment of God the Father upon our sin – when He finished that work, He simply yielded Himself to death as His choice.
Jesus was concerned about temptations for the disciples, repeating that concern twice in this short passage. Satan was trying to intervene in this process, as you might expect, having already entered into Judas. Peter was also a target, because Satan knew that he would be a powerful leader of the early church. The disciples model all of the weaknesses and imperfections of humanity by falling asleep during the fervent prayers that Jesus made. Matthew 26:36-46 describes Him returning to the disciples three times and finding them asleep. Are you asleep when God comes to you or are you alert and awake? Can you do His will or do you turn away? Be eternally grateful that Jesus did His will!