Mark 14:36

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Mark 14:36   

“And He was saying, Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” – Mark 14:36   

This verse is found in the set of verses regarding Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane.  “And they came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, Sit here until I have prayed. And He took with Him Peter and James and John and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch. And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.” Mark 14:32-35. First, this comes just after Peter had mentioned several times that even though he may have to die with Him, he would not deny Him.  And the others were saying the same thing. “But Peter kept saying insistently, even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You! And they all were saying the same thing, too.” Mark 14:31.  So, as we can see, Jesus took His disciples to Gethsemane and asked them to sit there until He came back from praying. However, He took Peter, James, and John with Him as well. And due to what He knew was coming He was deeply troubled.

In those days, Jews most often prayed standing and with uplifted hands. Prostration was the gesture of extreme urgency. Jesus, being fully human as well as fully God, was struggling with what He knew was coming. Because of this, He was praying that if it were possible, that this hour would pass Him by.  ‘This Hour’ refers to the time of His arrest and eventual death which would accomplish the purpose for which The Father sent Him here. This prayer was an expression of the real humanity of Jesus, which is as necessary a part of his nature as his deity.

Then we come to our focus verse. “And He was saying, Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” Mark 14:36. “Abba” is an Aramaic word, as Mark no doubt hastened to add for the benefit of his Greek-speaking readers and hearers, meaning father or daddy. The word was used primarily by little children within the family circle. There is no evidence that Jews used the word in addressing God. Such familiarity, they thought, would be irreverent. By using the word, Jesus affirmed his intimate relationship with God.

This verse particularly shows the ‘human’ side of Jesus.  He was approaching a very difficult time in which He will not just be killed but tortured by the Jews. In essence, we see both sides of Jesus. The phrase “All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me.” is definitely His human side. While “yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt” shows His deity. As we see here, He still showed His human side, but did not allow it to take precedent over what the Father wanted.  As difficult as it was, He knew this was the only way to allow the plan of God the Father to be completed. And this plan was for all people, those that loved Him, and also those who did not.

And as hard as this may sound, we should also be willing to follow this example. We must never allow our desires to prevail over what God desires. He wants us to go out and preach the gospel to all, not just to those we desire to be around. He wants us to encourage all Christians to be a light in the darkness, not just those we feel comfortable around. We are called to love everyone, not just those who show us love in ways that please us. And if in our work for God, we must die in order to accomplish His plan, then we must die and thus glorify Him. What we want must always be secondary to His plans. Jesus is an example of this. So, let us go back to what Jesus prayed. “Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” He was not crazy about what was coming, but He went through it because God The Father wanted Him to. And we should do the same.  What does it matter what we want when God has the perfect plan for us all?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Matthew 26:39

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.