The dreadful cup

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Christ’s meaning in this request is, “Father, if it be thy will, excuse me from this dreadful wrath; my soul is amazed at it. Is there no way to shun it?”

What! did he now repent of his engagement? Does he now wish to be disengaged, and that he had never undertaken such a work? No, no, Christ never repented of his engagement to the Father, never was willing to let the burden lie on us, rather than on himself; there was not such a thought in his holy and faithful heart. As man he feared and shunned death; but as God-man he willingly submitted to it.

There was nothing of sin in it, it being a pure and sinless affection of nature. There was much good in it, and that both as it was a part of his satisfaction for our sin, to suffer inwardly such fears, tremblings, and consternation, and as it was a clear evidence that he was in all things made like unto his brethren, except sin. And lastly, as it serves notably to express the grievousness and extremity of Christ’s sufferings, whose very prospect and appearance, at some distance, was so dreadful to him.

Did Christ meet death with such a heavy heart? Let the hearts of Christians be the lighter for this, when they come to die. The bitterness of death was all squeezed into Christ’s cup. He was made to drink up the very dregs of it, that so our death might be the sweeter to us.

— John Flavel The Fountain of Life

(HT: Of First Importance)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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