Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 26:39
“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” – Matthew 26:39
This verse takes place in Gethsemane. After the upper room meeting and supper, he goes to the Garden in Gethsemane to pray. He takes with Him the inner three of the disciples, those being Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, James and John. In our focus verse, and the others around it, we see the human side of Jesus. He was troubled by what He knows is coming. “Then He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” Matthew 26:38. Walking on, He goes a short distance and then falls on His face and prays. This was a traditional way of presenting oneself in humility to God when what is being asked for is major and difficult.
He cries out, “My Father”. Normally, He simply uses the word Father. Even while on the cross He uses the single word “Father”. However, during His times of anguish, He cries out with a more intimate relational tone. Here with the words “My Father”, and while on the cross where He cries out, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken Me?” Both of these are cries in extreme anguish and show forth His human side. His cry here, in our focus verse, is one of desiring another way.
His wording regarding this was “Let this cup pass from me”. This is speaking of a cup of poison and it was the way many were executed. Socrates died in this manner. According to Adam Clarke in his commentary on Matthew, the idea here is perhaps the allusion to several criminals standing in a row, who are all to drink of the same cup of poison, but the judge extending favor to a certain one, will allow the cup to pass by that person. However, Jesus knew this was the way it would go. We see this in the gospel of Luke. “Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” Luke 18:31-33. There was no question this was His future. He knew this was why He was born, for it was the only way to pay the penalty for our sins. The anxiety of what was going to happen caused Him to make this rhetorical statement. His love for His Father and ultimately us allowed Him to submit to what His Father required. “Then He came to the disciples and said to them, are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” Matthew 26:45-46.
Not long after this, Judas came to Him with a large crown carrying swords and clubs. Then one of those with Jesus pulled a sword out and cut off the ear of a slave of the high priest. However, “Then Jesus said to him, Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:52-53. He freely went to die for us. He could have prevented it, but He submitted to the Father to die for us that we might be saved. There is no greater picture of love than this.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.