And now they came to an olive grove called the Garden of Gethsemane, and he instructed his disciples, “Sit here, while I go and pray.”
He took Peter, James, and John with him and began to be filled with horror and deepest distress. And he said to them, “My soul is crushed by sorrow to the point of death; stay here and watch with me.”
He went on a little farther and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the awful hour awaiting him might never come.
“Father, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take away this cup from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”
Then he returned to the three disciples and found them asleep.
“Simon!” he said. “Asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Watch with me and pray lest the Tempter overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.”
And he went away again and prayed, repeating his pleadings. Again he returned to them and found them sleeping, for they were very tired. And they didn’t know what to say.
The third time when he returned to them he said, “Sleep on; get your rest! But no! The time for sleep has ended! Look! I am betrayed into the hands of wicked men. Come! Get up! We must go! Look! My betrayer is here!”
Jesus was in great sorrow and distress over his approaching physical pain, separation from the Father, and death for the sins of the world. The divine course was set, but he, in his human nature, still struggled (Hebrews 5:7-9). Because of the anguish Jesus experienced, he can relate to our suffering.
Wanting God’s Will
Was Jesus trying to get out of his task? Jesus expressed his true feelings, but he did not deny or rebel against God’s will. He reaffirmed his desire to do what God wanted. Jesus’ prayer highlights the terrible suffering he had to endure—an agony so much more magnified because he had to take on the sins of the whole world. This “cup” was the agony of alienation from God, his Father, at the cross (Hebrews 5:7-9). The sinless Son of God took on our sins and was separated for a while from God so that we could be eternally saved. While praying, Jesus was aware of what doing the Father’s will would cost him. He understood the suffering he was about to encounter, and he did not want to have to endure the horrible experience. But Jesus prayed, “I want your will not mine.”
Anything worth having costs something. What does your commitment to God cost you? Be willing to pay the price to gain something worthwhile in the end.