What Was the Cup?
The suffering Jesus endured in the Garden of Gethsemane is impossible for us to fathom. It may have been more than a human could endure. Hebrews 5:7 indicates that at some point Jesus prayed to be spared from death, and His prayer was answered: "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.What premature death could this verse refer to?
Comments in The Passion Translation suggest that when Jesus prayed in the garden, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done," He was not asking for a way around the cross. "Rather, he was asking God to keep him alive through this night of suffering so that he could carry the cross and take away our sins."
He had told His disciples, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death" (Matt. 26:36). Jesus sweat drops of blood, and if He died from the burden of all our sins, the prophecy in Isaiah 53 that stated "he was pierced for our transgressions," would not be fulfilled.
Immediately after He prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup," an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. (Luke 22:43)
So it is possible that the "cup" he was asking God to let pass from him was not referring to His crucifixion. Instead, perhaps He was asking to be spared from death in the garden so He could live long enough to die on the cross.
Either way, we have a Savior who was determined to pay the price for our sins. The weight of every sin that would ever be committed had a penalty, and He willingly paid it all.
"Lest I forget Gethsemane
Lest I forget Thine agony
Lest I forget Thy love for me
Lead me to Calvary." *
"He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5).
*Jennie E. Hussey