saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (22:42)
The goal of all true prayer is that God’s will be done. Those who genuinely feel the affliction caused by sin and temptation are motivated to submit to Him. In Psalm 40:8 David exclaimed, “I delight to do Your will, O my God,” while in Psalm 143:10 he pleaded, “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Jesus’ model prayer teaches those who address God in prayer to say, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10; cf. Luke 11:2). The apostle John wrote, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (1 John 5:14–15). Submission to God’s will is foundational to prayer.
Jesus’ request, “Father, if You are willing,” highlights once again the contrast between His temptation and those of believers. He submitted to the Father’s will that He be made sin; believers pray that they might submit to God’s will by forsaking sin and embracing holiness. Mark records that Jesus addressed the Father using the intimate, endearing, affectionate term “Abba” (Mark 14:36), revealing the earnestness and intensity of His plea. No Jew would ever call God Father, let alone Abba. But the Lord uses this affectionate, personal term to refer to God, pleading for His intimate love to rescue Him if He wills.
The word “cup” is frequently associated with judgment in the Old Testament (Pss. 11:6; 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15–17; 49:12; Lam. 4:21; Ezek. 23:31–33; Hab. 2:16; Zech. 12:2). Here it also refers to the agony, guilt, and wrath associated with God’s judgment of Jesus on the cross. Some have imagined that the Lord’s plea, “if You are willing, remove this cup from Me,” was a sign of weakness on His part. But it was not weakness that prompted this request, rather the opposite. His absolute holiness demanded that He recoil at the thought of bearing sin, guilt, judgment, and wrath. No other response was possible for the eternally sinless Son of God.
Jesus accepted that the cross was God’s plan. In John 12 He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (v. 24); “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour” (v. 27); “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (v. 32). In Mark 8:31 “He began to teach [the disciples] that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (cf. 9:31; Luke 9:22, 44). On the final journey to Jerusalem Jesus
took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.” (Mark 10:32–34)
In spite of experiencing satanic assaults beyond the capacity of the human mind to experience or conceive and agonizing over the prospect of bearing sin, Jesus fully submitted to the Father’s will for Him to be the sin offering (2 Cor. 5:21) so that redemption of God’s elect would be accomplished. Therefore He prayed, “Yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Jesus soon demonstrated the reality of that submission when He said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11).
42. Lord, remember me. I know not that, since the creation of the world, there ever was a more remarkable and striking example of faith; and so much the greater admiration is due to the grace of the Holy Spirit, of which it affords so magnificent a display. A robber, who not only had not been educated in the school of Christ, but, by giving himself up to execrable murders, had endeavoured to extinguish all sense of what was right, suddenly rises higher than all the apostles and the other disciples whom the Lord himself had taken so much pains to instruct; and not only so, but he adores Christ as a King while on the gallows, celebrates his kingdom in the midst of shocking and worse than revolting abasement, and declares him, when dying, to be the Author of life. Even though he had formerly possessed right faith, and heard many things about the office of Christ, and had even been confirmed in it by his miracles, still that knowledge might have been overpowered by the thick darkness of so disgraceful a death. But that a person, ignorant and uneducated, and whose mind was altogether corrupted, should all at once, on receiving his earliest instructions, perceive salvation and heavenly glory in the accursed cross, was truly astonishing. For what marks or ornaments of royalty did he see in Christ, so as to raise his mind to his kingdom? And, certainly, this was, as it were, from the depth of hell to rise above the heavens. To the flesh it must have appeared to be fabulous and absurd, to ascribe to one who was rejected and despised, (Isa. 53:3,) whom the world could not endure, an earthly kingdom more exalted than all the empires of the world. Hence we infer how acute must have been the eyes of his mind, by which he beheld life in death, exaltation in ruin, glory in shame, victory in destruction, a kingdom in bondage.
Now if a robber, by his faith, elevated Christ—while hanging on the cross, and, as it were, overwhelmed with cursing—to a heavenly throne, woe to our sloth if we do not behold him with reverence while sitting at the right hand of God; if we do not fix our hope of life on his resurrection; if our aim is not towards heaven where he has entered. Again, if we consider, on the other hand, the condition in which he was, when he implored the compassion of Christ, our admiration of his faith will be still heightened. With a mangled body, and almost dead, he is looking for the last stroke of the executioner, and yet he relies on the grace of Christ alone. First, whence came his assurance of pardon, but because in the death of Christ, which all others look upon as detestable, he beholds a sacrifice of sweet savour, efficacious for expiating the sins of the world? And when he courageously disregards his tortures, and is even so forgetful of himself, that he is carried away to the hope and desire of the hidden life, this goes far beyond the human faculties. From this teacher, therefore, whom the Lord has appointed over us to humble the pride of the flesh, let us not be ashamed to learn the mortification of the flesh, and patience, and elevation of faith, and steadiness of hope, and ardour of piety; for the more eagerly any man follows him, so much the more nearly will he approach to Christ.
42 It is fitting that Luke, who throughout his gospel stresses Jesus’ conscious fulfillment of the purposes of God, should now emphasize Jesus’ concern for the will of God. “If you are willing” (ei boulei, v. 42) is absent from Matthew and Mark at this point, though they do have the rest of v. 42.
As in Matthew 20:22 and Mark 10:38, Jesus uses the “cup” as a metaphor of his imminent passion. Some, however, have imagined that this metaphor implies that Jesus faced death with less bravery than others have faced it. (But to shrink from a painful death is not necessarily cowardice; the highest bravery may consist in being fully cognizant of impending and agonizing death and yet to embrace it voluntarily.) At any rate, it has been suggested that the cup Jesus feared was that he might die from the strain he was under before he could willingly offer himself on the cross. But this view fails to recognize that Jesus would not have been as concerned with the physical pain of his death as with the spiritual desolation of bearing our sin and its judgment on the cross (2 Co 5:21; 1 Pe 2:24). Moreover, in the OT the wrath of God expressed against sin was sometimes referred to by the metaphor of a “cup” (e.g., Ps 11:6, where the NIV translates kôs as “lot” rather than “cup”; cf. Ps 75:8; Isa 51:17; Jer 25:15–17).
22:42 / this cup: The cup metaphor carries the ot idea of destiny (see Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15; Ps. 16:5). We are given an important glimpse of Jesus’ humanity in this utterance.
Ver. 42.—Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. The three synoptists give this prayer in slightly varying terms; “but the figure of the cup is common to all the three; it was indelibly impressed on tradition. This cup, which Jesus entreats God to cause to pass from before (παρά) his lips, is the symbol of that terrible punishment, the dreadful and mournful picture of which is traced before him at this moment by a skilful painter with extraordinary vividness. The painter is the same who in the wilderness, using a like illusion, passed before his view the magical scene of the glories belonging to the Messianic kingdom” (Godet). If thou be willing. He looked on in this supreme hour, just before “the Passion” really began, to the Crucifixion and all the horrors which preceded it and accompaniec it—to the treason of Judas; the denial o Peter; the desertion of the apostles; the cruel, relentless enmity of the priests and rulers; the heartless abandonment of the people; the insults; the scourging; and then the shameful and agonizing lingering death which was to close the Passion and, more dreadful than all, the reason why he was here in Gethsemane; why he was to drink this dreadful cup of suffering; the memory of all the sin of man! To drink this cup of a suffering, measureless, inconceivable, the Redeemer for a moment shrank back, and asked the Father if the cross was the only means of gaining the glorious end in view—the saving the souls of unnumbered millions. Could not God in his unlimited power find another way of reconciliation? And yet beneath this awful agony, the intensity of which we are utterly incapable of grasping—beneath it there lay the intensest desire that his Father’s wish and will should be done. That wish and will were in reality his own. The prayer was made and answered. It was not the Father’s will that the cup should pass away, and the Son’s will was entirely the same; it was answered by the gift of strength—strength from heaven being given to enable the Son to drink the cup of agony to its dregs. How this strength was given St. Luke relates in the next verse.
22:42 Jesus agonized over His approaching death and the effect of God’s wrath. The cup is a figure of speech for wrath (Pss. 11:6; 75:7, 8; Jer. 25:15, 16; Ezek. 23:31–34).
 MacArthur, J. (2014). Luke 18–24 (pp. 303–305). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Vol. 3, pp. 311–312). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 320). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Evans, C. A. (1990). Luke (p. 329). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
 Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St Luke (Vol. 2, p. 203). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
 Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1298). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.