“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” –Mark 14:36
The stage was set as God was planning for the most important event to ever take place in human history—the redemption of mankind. But first Jesus had to prepare . . . He had to get “prayed up.” We need to remember the humanity of Jesus Christ. God in flesh, emptying himself, becoming a man, so that He can identify with us “in every respect” (Hebrews 2:17). He is our pattern for life.
And we see this pattern demonstrated throughout history. Thousands, if not millions, of believers since the first century have gone to their martyrdom with joy. Persecution of Christians is on the increase. We have many accounts of these “prayed-up” Jesus-followers singing and praising God that they were worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. However, why on earth do we think that our leader was cowering in a garden, afraid of a mere Roman cross? If Jesus seemed scared to “drink the cup,” then we need to ask ourselves, “what was in the cup?”
I believe we see the effects of the contents of the cup as Jesus was on the cross. Darkness covered the earth for three hours. Jesus feels God forsake him. He said, “It is finished.” The temple curtain is torn, and those watching were amazed (Matthew 27 and John 19).
In addition, many other scriptures point to what was in the cup. Jeremiah 25:15, Revelation 14:9, 10, and Isaiah 51:17, which says, “. . . you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.” What was in the cup? The wrath of Almighty God! It was the righteous anger of God against sin. It was the full punishment of the sin we deserve. And Jesus drank it down to the last drop, even down to the dregs.
Dregs, by definition is the most unwanted or worthless part of something, or of a drink. Jesus took even the worst of sins upon Himself. In the garden, He saw that the full wrath or anger of God for the sin of the world was about to be laid upon His shoulders, and He was terrified. The worst part is that He would feel the separation that sin brings—something that He had NEVER experienced before.
Jesus was willing to pay that high price because it was the ONLY way we could be free. Jesus took the consequences of sin so that there would be not a single drop of wrath for us to experience. Then we would never have to see the back of God’s head. It is a free gift offered to you and me. That way we could never tell God that we did anything to earn it. And we could never tell God that He doesn’t know how we feel.