By Wayne Camp


Scripture: Lu. 22:39-44; Mat. 26:38-44

TEXT: Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

INTRO: The cup is used symbolically in our text and in many other places in Scripture. In those times it is used symbolically it may speak of that which is good or bad.

In the good sense it is used of the Lord and his blessings. David wrote, Psalm 16:5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

Again David wrote, Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

He also wrote, Psalm 73:10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

Once more we read, Psalm 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

Most often, I believe, it is used symbolically to speak of the Lord's fury and the sin that provokes that fury and judgment.

Of God's judgment on the wicked David writes, Psalm 11:6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. Psalm 75:8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

The prophet Isaiah wrote, Isaiah 51:17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out. Isaiah 51:22 Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again.

Jeremiah wrote in similar language. He said, Jeremiah 25:15 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.

Ezekiel also used the cup symbolically to speak of Divine judgment on sin. He said, Ezekiel 23:31-33 Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore will I give her cup into thine hand. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much. Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria.

Habakkuk wrote, Habakkuk 2:16 Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.

And Zechariah spoke of how God would use Jerusalem and Judah to cause the nations about them to tremble. Zechariah 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

Finally, let us notice four verses from the book of Revelation where the cup is used in the same manner as we have seen it is used in the Old Testament. Revelation 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.

Revelation 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

Revelation 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.

Revelation 18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

PLEASE NOTE: In every instance these verses speak of the fury, the wrath, the severe judgment of God upon sin or the sin which deserves and brings that judgment. And, in the light of their context, it is evident that this is the way Jesus uses the cup when he prays, If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. This is the man Christ Jesus praying. Everything about his sinless humanity was repulsed by the thought of being made sin. His sinless mind revolted at the thought of being made sin. That alone could have driven him into this deep agony and depression that is expressed in our text. In that cup, he no doubt saw the infinite, inflexible justice of God which must be satisfied before he could cry, "It is finished!" What a price must be paid, what suffering must be endured to satisfy Divine justice for the sins of His people. These were about to be put upon him and for them he must satisfy Divine holiness and justice to the last iota. In that cup he doubtless also saw, the infinite fury and terrible wrath of God against sin and sinners. All the abominable sins of all the elect would be heaped on him and God would pour out his undiluted wrath upon him for those sins.

I pray that we may fellowship in that agony and depression for a little while. I pray that we may better comprehend the cup of which Jesus drank so that we could drink of the cup of his salvation.


A. When David was confronted by his own sins he was driven to agony and depression. Psalm 32:3-4 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. Psalm 38:1-10 O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. 4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. 10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

B. When Job saw God he abhorred himself. Job 42:5-6 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

C. When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up he cried our his sinfulness. Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

D. All these men were sinners by nature and by practice and were born into this world in a state of utter depravity, yet they drew back when they saw the repulsiveness of their sins; how much more the sinless Son of Man, as he contemplated being made sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

E. He who was the very embodiment of truth and who had never spoken one lie, would be looked upon by the Holy Father as the embodiment of all the liars among his elect.

1. He who had never looked upon a woman to lust after her would be looked upon by the Holy God of heaven as though he were the very embodiment of all kinds of lewd and perverted sinners because some of his elect were such terrible sinners. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

2. He who was truly a man, no fuddy, duddy, namby, pamby, would be looked on as though he were the worst of effeminate person because among his elect were such persons.

3. He who is the prince of life, who had never harmed anyone, would be looked upon as a murderous fiend because some of his elect would be such as Saul of Tarsus, breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the churches of God. Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest

4. If his sin caused Paul to cry out "Oh wretched man that I am," how much more would Jesus, the sinless Son of man be repulsed by the prospect of being made sin for us.


A. When David was dealing with his sin, he cried out, "My strength faileth me!" (Psa. 38:10).

B. He himself would cry out, "My strength is dried up like a potsherd" (Psa. 22:15).

C. Justice demanded payment for ever offense against God's holy law of every one of those given to him to save.

1. This drove him to the deepest depression; he was sorrowful even unto death. Matthew 26:37-39 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

2. It caused him to pray three times, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me!"

3. He must go to the cross in the weakness of human flesh and in that humanity satisfy the infinite demands of Divine justice. Would his humanity be capable of bearing what it must bear to accomplish this mighty work?

a. Some of those who have problems coming to terms with the true and complete human nature of Christ may have problems with my reference to his weakness but let me remind you that he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

b. I would also remind you of the words of Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians. II Corinthians 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.


A. He had had an eternal, unmarred, uninterrupted fellowship with God the Father, and now that fellowship would be interrupted because God cannot fellowship with one who has been made sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

B. Even as he was there in the garden he could not bear what would happen when God made him sin and he prayed "If it be possible let this cup pass from me."

C. He saw the full meaning of being left alone to experience the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of an infinitely holy and greatly offended God.

1. In his sin-bearing work he would be in the hands of an vengeful, offended, absolutely inflexible justice demanding holy God.

2. Not an angel would lift a finger to minister to him as they had after his temptation in the mountain.

3. His own disciples would forsake him and would not be near during his suffering.

4. God himself would forsake him, and that was nearly unbearable for him to contemplate.

D. He saw the full import of having his soul made an offering for sin. Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.


A. This look into the cup drove him into the deepest depression, made his soul exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.

B. This look into the cup drove him into deepest agony.

C. This look into the cup drove him caused him such inward turmoil that he sweat bloody sweat, great drops of bloody sweat.


Let me conclude with a word to those saved ones reading this:

If our sins laid on him caused him to experience such agony, should our sins not cause us great sorrow and agony?

If our sins laid on Christ were such that he prayed for deliverance from drinking that cup, should not we be falling on our face before God and crying out with Paul, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Of those who are lost, let me ask, "If being made sin so depressed and made sorrowful the Lord Jesus Christ, should not you have godly sorrow for your sins, repent of them and flee to Christ for refuge from the terrible wrath of an offended God?


The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator

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Last updated on Saturday, July 30, 2011


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