Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. (Luke 22:42)
Relate: Jesus did not want to die. Did you ever think about that? In each of the Synoptics, we see Him asking the Father to spare Him from what was coming ahead. Matthew quotes Him: “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.” Mark is the most passionate, ” ‘Abba, Father,’ he cried out, ‘everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me.’ ” Then here in Luke we read, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me.”
There are some views of Jesus that don’t really align well with this verse. According to what I understand of Baha’i they claim that He was eager for the cross so that by His death and resurrection He might infuse a new “goodness” into all creation. Hindus and Buddhists do their best to ignore the cross completely instead focusing on His teachings. If pushed on the subject I have found a Hindu will say it was a way for Him to remove the rest of His bad karma and end the cycle of rebirth. The Buddhist will instead focus on the fact Jesus had attained enlightment so even though the Romans and Jews threw their worst at Him, there was no pain or anguish.
Even worse than any of these is the idea that, through a bit of trickery, Jesus completely skipped out on the whole affair. The Quran states: “That they said in boast, ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no certain knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.” An orthodox Sunni explanation of this has Jesus in the upper room asking for a volunteer to take his place. One of the youngest of his disciples does, Jesus tells him to sit back down, asks again… same dude, a third time the same disciple volunteers again so Jesus relents. God makes the kid look just like Jesus so that when the Jews came, they killed him instead. Meanwhile, Jesus stays with His surviving disciples a bit longer then gets whisked off to heaven.
React: Jesus did not want to die on the cross. The pain, the torment, the agony, and even more the fact that He who knew no sin was about to become sin for us was so unbearable that the Father sent an angel down to take care of Him. Jesus didn’t want to go. But even more, He wanted to be obedient to the Father. He wanted redemption for His brothers… us. He wanted the family to be whole again. Among all three synoptic gospels, after pleading with the Father to provide a different way, Jesus then offers up these ten beautifully powerful words, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
He did walk that road. He did suffer. He was mocked, jeered, and spit upon. He was tortured. And finally He was killed. For me. For you. Jesus didn’t want to walk that road, but we made it necessary. His love for us compelled Him.
God, I thank You that You walked that road, even though You did not want to. It humbles me to think of the depth and the richness of the love You demonstrated that day. It horrifies me to understand the consequence and the cost of my sin. I am so sorry. Forgive me. Do not let what You went through be in vain. I surrender my life to You. I give it all and leave it at the foot of that beautiful, terrible cross that You bore in my stead.