One of the most enigmatic moments the Bible describes is Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.
In that moment we see Christ struggle with the incomprehensible reality of what he was about to endure–drinking from the cup of God’s wrath.
This moment is an open door to the heart of the God-man.
An open window into his mediatorial work on our behalf.
And an object lesson in unrestricted submission.
Let’s examine each of these aspects.
Open Door to the Heart of the God-Man
What Christ dreaded most about the cross was the outpouring of divine wrath. In fact, he asked three times that the cup be taken away from Him.
Jesus was grieved because he knew that all the guilt of all the redeemed of all time would be placed on him…and he would suffer the full force of God’s wrath on our behalf.
In fact, he would become sin and an object of God’s fury. He suffered and felt sorrow in a way no human has ever felt.
Open Window to Christ’s Mediatorial Work on Our Behalf
Jesus asked to be relieved of the cup only if there were some other way to accomplish the redemptive plan of God. God’s answer demonstrated there wasn’t. Being omniscient, Jesus knew this before he prayed.
Therefore, the eternal guarantee of our salvation involved a promise made by the father to the son before time began. We see this when Paul spoke to Titus:
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time. Titus 1:1-2
Object Lesson in Unrestricted Submission
In the end, in spite of all his foreboding and dread, Jesus deliberately, systematically and consciously surrendered all his natural human emotions to the perfect will of God.
That means Christ’s prayer was above all a prayer of submission. Jesus was simply preparing himself for the cross and the judgment of God. The core of the prayer was not a request to let the cup pass…but that God’s will be done.
And since Christ is our object of faith, we need to ask ourselves: How much more do we need to be systematic and deliberate in surrendering our own hearts to God?
Our hearts, will and emotions must be subjugated if we wish to live our lives to the glory of God.