Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC

Matthew 26:36-46
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Just hours before He was betrayed and arrested, our Lord Jesus entered a garden called Gethsemane and uttered the most excruciating prayer ever prayed. As the horror of the cross weighed on his earthly mind, He called out to the Father. Scripture says in Luke chapter 22 that he was in such physical inner turmoil that he sweat blood, and all this was because of what was about to take place.

The worst part of the cross was not the physical pain of it. It wasn’t the distasteful mockings, or the beatings which tore His back to shreds, or the crown of thorns that pierced deep into his brow, or the single hairs of His beard being plucked out. The worst part of the cross was drinking from the Father’s bitter cup. Jesus asked if there was any way the cup could pass, but it could not. This cup refers to the bitter cup of the wrath of God. See, on that cross the eternal Son and the eternal Father were separated for the first time in all of eternity past. Jesus became our sin there and the Father of unmitigated holiness had no choice but to pour out His wrath. They had known before that time and have known ever since a depth of loving fellowship that we cannot fathom. To become our sin and be separated from the love of the Father was hell on earth, an indescribably bitter cup.

Before we allow any fleeting thought to rest in our mind that somehow we are good people, we must remember the cup. Our sin is so bad that God had to crucify His own Son to pay for it. My sinful attitude, my words, my thoughts, my actions were such an egregious affront to God that Jesus had to suffer and die.

However, as horrible as the cross was, and as horrible as my sin is, what a love the Savior has for us to sacrifice His life! Jesus’ first prayer in that garden was “let the cup pass,” but by the end He prayed “pass the cup.” If this was the only way then He would suffer and die for mankind. Thank the Lord that He didn’t pass the cup on to someone else! He drank that full cup of the wrath of God and cried out from the cross, “It is finished!”

Oh thank God Jesus didn’t pass the cup! If you have turned from sin and confessed Jesus as Lord,  then you can rest in the forgiveness and grace of God because Jesus drank down the wrath of God in full for you. How can we not worship the one who did this for us? How can we not serve Him? How could we be ashamed to tell of His love? Today, pass the cup of the gospel on to someone else and share of how Jesus drank that bitter cup for us all.

Jesus, thank you for the cross. Thank you for dying for me and taking the punishment I deserve. I cannot fully understand all that you did there, but I know it was enough for my salvation. I trust in You and You alone for eternal life. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…”