Wednesday, July 11: May this cup be taken from me
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 26:36-39
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
Jesus' prayer at the end of this passage is one of the turning points in this near-final chapter of his life on earth. What does this insistent but submissive prayer show us about his relationship with the Father? Also, why do you suppose Jesus might leave eight of the disciples to pray and take three farther with him, and then leave the three behind to be alone in his sorrow?
Throughout this Gospel, over and over, we see Jesus speaking and acting with the explicit intention of walking toward the cross. But now that he's so close to what appeared to be his goal, he asks to be delivered from it. Consider what insight this apparent change might provide concerning God's big-picture plan, all while asking God to illuminate it for you and give you ears to hear.