Bible Society of South Africa
Quintus Heine

Suffering, resurrection and Christian love – day 2

Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane (part 2)

Bible text(s)

41Then he went off from them about the distance of a stone's throw and knelt down and prayed. 42“Father,” he said, “if you will, take this cup of suffering away from me. Not my will, however, but your will be done.”

Luke 22:41-42GNBOpen in Bible reader

It is a familiar scenario in films and TV series: an innocent person finds him/herself having to pay someone else’s debt. Usually, it is because of some legal error or a false testimony that the innocent person takes the blame for another’s actions. When this happens, we feel so indignant for injustice meted out to the innocent person. If we look at Jesus in this light, we feel even more ashamed that he suffered in our place. He suffered unjustly so we could live freely. He willingly drank the cup that we deserved. We, who are often so indignant about injustice in the world, are the guilty ones, but he willingly took the blame upon himself. Jesus drank this cup so that our suffering would be bearable.

Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane emphasises his humanity and his humility. Philippians 2:7 helps us to understand that Jesus was human and that he was humble. He did not cling to his divinity, but humbled himself to become completely human. He did not use his divinity to avoid suffering. When Jesus prayed this prayer, he must have realised that he did it so our pain would be bearable, so that our suffering is not the end, so that we can have hope.

We praise God with gratitude today because our debt for sin has been paid, because Jesus drank the cup of suffering and because our own suffering and crises does not mean the end of us. Jesus already suffered for it. It is ironic that his suffering gives us hope. It is painful for us as Christians to think about it, especially over Easter!

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