He came out, and went, as his custom was, to the Mount of Olives. His disciples also followed him. When he was at the place, he said to them, “Pray that you don’t enter into temptation.”
He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and he knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. Being in agony he prayed more earnestly. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.
Years ago I used to get confused about this passage. It didn’t make sense to me that Jesus would ask the Father to get out of going to the cross. That sounded like a desire to disobey the Father which would be a sin. I believe God made it more clear to me over time. Jesus is the one and only Messiah. He is the only perfect man. There is no one who deserved His Father’s love more than Himself and there has never been anyone who loved the Father as much as He did. None of us can be in Jesus position here because all of us deserve punishment and none of us really know and love God like Jesus does.
There is only one fear that the Bible allows and that is the fear of God and Jesus knew that He was about to take on a punishment from a Father who He knew had terrible punishment capability. It only makes sense for a righteous person to detest the thought of being sinful, to detest the thought of being punished by a fearful God, to detest the shame of being a sinner when what is deserved is honor. These are righteous feelings, but I believe the most horrible thing was the thought that the love of His Father would be turned into hatred for the sin of mankind. Many have lost a loved one and almost no torture can compare to this. To be loved deeply by the most powerful love and to lose it must have been beyond a human’s capacity to hold. I am not sure about this but I believe if the Father had not sent an angel, Jesus body may have died right there in the garden because these mental things were too much to bear.
I have been told by military special forces that psychological attacks can be worse than the mere physical ones. It’s good to know that the Father gave Jesus the strength to continue even though this horrible event was to take place. It is also obvious to me that the Father was suffering as well. This is the extent to which God was willing to demonstrate His love for us.
I also want to say that I don’t believe that we have to pray this prayer like Jesus did. It would only be right for us to both be willing and able to do the Father’s will. When we turn away from our own will it is the will of our sinful flesh. Jesus didn’t ever have evil desires, He didn’t want to see the wrath of God and we should never want to see it either. He had to face it and we will never be asked to face it. So, “Thy will be done” is entirely different for us.