If it all be possible, let this cup pass from me

Matthew 26:37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zeb′edee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.

So the Bible says that three times Jesus prays that the crucifixion would not happen. Why? I think the majority of Christianity has had a major blind spot regarding this. They cannot imagine that things can go in any other way than what led to the Christian religion. Jesus had to die, they think. Therefore, they ignore everything which disagrees with this and offer the lamest of solution to say that Jesus was 100% human and therefore afraid of death and not wanting to suffer and lay down His life for redemption of all mankind. I really cringe when I hear that sort of thing. Think of the legions of human beings which have been perfectly willing to lay down their life for far lesser causes – the freedom of the people of their country, or to save the life of one little child, or to die as a martyr for the cause of Christ. People have even prayed to God for such a thing, the precise opposite of Jesus’ prayer it would seem, “God if it be possible, let me have the smallest sip of that cup.” After all did not Jesus say, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Are all these people less human then because they would pray in such a way and have no fear of their own death? NO! Clearly being 100% human does not require any such thing!!!

I believe the cup referred to here is the cup of Socrates, the willing sacrifice of His life for the sake of truth and principle. There is no chance at all that Jesus will back down before the Sanhedrin from what He taught any more than He would do as others (zealots and maybe Judas) might want and call down a legion of angels to defend Him. Why then did Jesus pray three times to let this cup pass from Him? To say that this is a momentary weakness in which Jesus is expressing selfishness and cowardice is simply unthinkable to me. Logic instead requires me to reject usual rhetoric and conclude that Jesus prayed in this way because it was NOT required – not by God anyway. I cannot think but that Jesus laid down His life 100% willing, but it was not God who required this but the perversity of human beings who demanded this. It is we who refuse to change until we hit rock bottom where the innocent suffer because of our sins. It is we who will not leave our sins until we see the worst that they can do. It is we who have to see a 100% pure, innocent, and Godly person dying in agony on a cross before we will turn to God for salvation.

I mentioned other evidence ignored. I am talking about the way in which those who brought about the crucifixion are not in any way treated as heroes in the Bible. What does Jesus say of Judas, His betrayer? Matthew 16:24 "woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” The most logically consistent answer to why Jesus said this and why Jesus prayed three times that the crucifixion would not happen is that this is not the best that could be hoped for. It seems logical that it would have been better if Jesus could remain with us to teach us more.

Now obviously this doesn’t go very well with things like substitutionary atonement and such which I have repudiated elsewhere. I have suggested that this is taking such things in the Bible too literally. To be sure Jesus died for our sins, just as soldiers have died for the life and freedom of their countrymen. But this is no divine law of justice or a power of human sacrifice, but simply a time and again proven fact of what it apparently takes for sinful human beings to change their ways.

So what does this say for Easter? Is it a time for celebration? Yes. The cross remains a victory for God. That much I do not imply any change. But like any wake it is a time for sadness also (we can be both happy our loved one has returned to God and be sad that he has been taken from us). Likewise we can also regret just as Jesus did in His garden prayers for what has been lost in the crucifixion. We are not required to rejoice in the death, torment, and blood of Jesus any more than we are required to praise Judas for his betrayal. Yet in sadness and repentance we can celebrate a life well lived and a work of God well done.

I have been watching this

Which gives a little different take on things. Basically saying that we have to some degree die to ourselves because being to limited to a small way of thinking can make it easy to do horrible things. This it seems to me is also an appropriate message for Easter – celebrating our death to ourselves that we may live in Christ, with a bigger view of reality beyond ourselves.

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I definitely disagree.

The entire Torah paints a picture of a sacrificial lamb. I believe that Jesus was definitely 100% man. He was scared of dying. Plenty of people are. He was scared of the torment and pain that he understood from the Tanakh that was coming his way. I believe that he knew it was coming, but was hoping that perhaps there was another way but that whatever the father willed he could do it. It’s not cowardly, or sinful, to hope for a different path that God may or may not create.

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No, not the entire Torah. But I would agree that much of history of Israel, killing prophets and those sent to them, lead only in this one direction. But that doesn’t mean there was no hope for another way in the mind of Jesus or in the words of God to Israel. After all, most of Israel had a very different hope in the messiah. Christians simply defer that hope spoken of in the Torah to the second coming.

And what of the rest of Jesus’ words in His garden prayer? “not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Doesn’t that mean the crucifixion was a demand of God? I don’t think so. I think it means God was telling Jesus that the point of no return had been reached and the hope for a different outcome was gone. I think Jesus was even making one last test of this in the garden. Not only did Jesus pray three times that this cup pass from Him, but three time He asked His disciples to pray with Him and they could not. Compare this to the disciples after the death and resurrection of Jesus. They were on fire for Christ after that. Thus I think that was the last straw and after this Jesus accepted that HIs death on the cross was the only way.

Sure God could have done a dozen things. God could send Jesus back to earth right now and Jesus could begin performing miracles after miracle and millions of not billions repent and become Christians billions of more convert as angels manifest among us and zip around and call down fire and so on. But for whatever reasons, God is not going to. He’s done what he’s going to do, and now we can believe it or not. When everything comes to a head, and the living and dead are all facing God and know it’s true, it will be past the point of repentance and everyone will be judged. Only those who are in Christ, will be saved, and maybe even by the “skin of their teeth” will some be saved.

As for the entire Torah, I think so. In the very first story of the Bible it mentions “ the heel that will be bruised by the snake but crush the serpents head”. What else could that be about except in the process of Jesus destroying Satan he would be hurt.

It was his 100% human nature battiling with his 100% divinity.AT least thats how i see it.The human natue is weak afraid of diying (Let this cup pass from me) but then the divinity steps in and ultimately(Your will be done)fully submiting to the Father

That is not the universal exegesis of this passage even in Christianity and of course it was never the understanding of this passage in Judaism. Many in Christianity see the heel bruised being female (Mary) because of the Vulgate, and most Catholics and all Jews have always understood this in the plural, that “They will strike… at their heel” or a few that “he (messiah) will strike the serpents head and you (adversary) will bruise their (Israel/mankind) heel.” The principle point here is that this is way way way to vague to support your claim about the entire Torah.

It seems to be the most widely accepted general consensus of that verse.

Genesis 3:15
15 And I will make enemies
Of you and the woman,
And of your offspring and her Descendant;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise Him on the heel.”

I will make enemies of you and the woman ( Satan and Eve )

And of y’all’s offspring ( those that align themselves with Satan and those that don’t ) we see Jesus refer to those against him as a brood of serpents snd says their father is the devil ) obviously all metaphorically.

He shall bruise you on the head ( Satan will somehow be harmed by someone) the he here can go masculine or feminine.

And you shall bruise his heel ( it’s focused on his here. Not them. The one Satan bruises won’t be Mary but a male. That’s Jesus.

We see this idea also further explained with

Isaiah 53:5
New American Standard Bible
5 But He was pierced for our offenses,
He was crushed for our wrongdoings;
The punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him,
And by His wounds we are healed.

Here the word crushed, is also interpreted as bruised. From both verses, the words are commonly interchanged for crushed or bruised.

You can disagree. But it’s not some far off the wall uncommon interpretation. Even among Jewish people it’s commonly thought of as referring to a messiah.

Doesn’t change the fact that the MAJORITY of messianic prophesies in the OT are of a triumphant messiah. This is why the Jewish people continue to wait for the messiah who will fulfill these prophesies.

“And nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).
The Son of David will restore and purify Jerusalem, removing all the heathen idols, as it is written, “They shall come there and take away all the detestable things” (Ezekiel 11:18).

Strangers will be barred from entering restored Jerusalem. Thus her sanctity will not be defiled.
The Messiah will gather all Jewish people from the nations and bring them back to the land with great honor “upon horses and in chariots and litters” (Isaiah 66:20).
The Messiah will ensure Israel’s safety and prosperity; the land will yield a miraculous increase, “For as the earth brings forth her growth and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause victory and glory to spring forth before all the nations” (Isaiah 61:11).
The human life span will be greatly increased due to the conquest of evil. “For as the days of a tree shall be the days of My people” (Isaiah 65:22).[1]
His royal arrival is to be in the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13, Zechariah 9:9)
His rule will be one of unprecedented peace and prosperity and he will be king over the entire world (Zechariah 14:1-9, Ezekiel 34:24).

Like I explained, Christians simply defer this majority of prophesies to the second coming. But nowhere does the OT speak of a first and second coming of the messiah. BUT what you will find are prophesies saying that the people of Israel will be judged by the messiah and that these triumphant prophesies will only come if they are found worthy.


The original argument was maybe God could do something different. Sure, but he’s not going to. The Torah repeatedly brings up the messiah and how he will be a sacrifice of something. As Christians, yet we believe that. The Torah said. The new said said it. It’s what happened to Jesus.

There is also a entire group of Christians who are preterists that interpret all of those verses differently.

So to be clear.

My point was that Jesus was not a coward, because being afraid is not cowardly.

Jesus could be tempted and killed. God can’t be tempted and killed. Jesus was a man.

The Torah does point towards the suffering messiah. It helps let us know that interpretation is correct because it’s exactly what happened to Jesus.

The majority of Christians , and Jews, reads the bruising of the heel as a reference to the messiah. Not just a few. If you read through the majority of commentaries you’ll see that. That does not mean it’s correct, but it does mean it’s not some far fetched idea I just tried to make work. It’s a generally accepted idea. It does not matter thst Jews reject Jesus because those verses are still about the messiah. I argue from a Christian perspective, not a Jewish one.

Then last post you did is mostly on another subject. Did Jesus fulfill the prophecies and how do. I believe he did.

I believe that God decided the best path forward was what happened and that’s what happened. It was prophecies being fulfilled as they happened to Christ.

Part of this boils down to how we view the humanity in Christ as well has His divinity. If we exalt the view of His divinity too much we dilute His actual humanity and being one of us who could be tried and tested, who could feel pain and yes even doubt. We must acknowledge He subjected Himself to our level of existence and pain. He really did experience fear and anguish about what He knew would happen and on the cross really did feel isolated and cry out to God in our bewildered way.

BUT- He went through with it, He was faithful where are not, and makes up for where we fall short.


No it does not.

It really boils down to whether Christ is an exemplary human being or someone we have no reason to admire at all. When we see people giving their lives for the sake of others and praying that they can do so, then while the story of a Christ who would beg out of suffering and giving his life for mankind (and only do so with reluctance) may look good to some, there are far too many including myself who would not find such a person worthy of so much admiration as human being at all. Frankly it is not even consistent with His own words, “greater love has no man than this, to give his life for his friends,” and makes Him even sound like a hypocrite unless… he has no love for us. Maybe that is what you think. God loves us enough to give his only son, but the Son doesn’t think we are worth giving so much for at all.

The reluctant savior is it? I might sympathize with the human being but give him my greatest admiration as the best example of a human being that there could be? No.

We are talking about the one who said that even to THINK lustful thoughts is to commit adultery. And this is the one who would pray that he wouldn’t have to save mankind? Really?

I don’t buy it.

But then… I don’t buy into the rhetoric that makes obedience the highest morality. That might work for fascists and those using religion as a tool of power but it doesn’t work for me.

He never prayed not to save mankind. He prayed to God if there was another way, but if not he submits to it. Big difference from the narrative you bring up.

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Exactly! For some reason HE thought there might be another way – God thought there might be another way. That is the whole point! He gave up on that idea, sure. And of course He had good reason to give up on the idea. But the possibility existed.

And if Jesus was praying for such a possibility, then I certainly do not think it was just because of human weakness but because it was better. And we can regret that Jesus could not stay with us longer and teach us more. We can repent that the extent of our sin put Him on the cross without the excuse that it was God who demanded this.

I don’t think God thought there was another way personally. Otherwise, the OT would not have been filled with all the sacrificial lamb examples. Jesus, a man, was hoping there was another way. Jesus was not a god walking around in flesh. He was a human, 100%. He had to learn just like we do. He was tempted just like we are. Yet through all things he did not sin. Jesus hoped and prayed that there was another way to save the world. There was not. He accepted it. None of that is cowardly or sinful.


Yes it does.

I am always baffled by this, and perhaps you could explain to me… when we say “soldiers die for the life and freedom of their countrymen” even here there is a bit of poetry involved,… in that their death itself, strictly speaking, didn’t accomplish anything toward that end, rather, they died while contributing to a larger effort.

(Like Patton’s famous quip, “no one ever won a war by dying for his country… you win a war by making the other guy die for his country.”)

But when soldiers die in a battle, they are generally fighting in the larger perspective to accomplish some particular or discreet strategic or tactical goal that would in fact accomplish something for their countrymen. It is the effect of the total actions of all the combatants that achieved the desired military ends. But strictly speaking, the deaths themselves, noble and heroic they may be, do not actually accomplish the strategic or tactical benefit. Ideally, military commanders would, if it were conceivable or practicable, try to achieve their ends without a single loss of life of their own forces.

The only exception whatever I can possibly conceive is when a solider enacts a substitutionary death… one where he directly saves the live of other soldiers by leaping onto a grenade, for instance. And then we could indeed literally say he gave his life to save others… he took the brunt and blow of danger on himself, and by doing so, shielded and saved others from what would have injured or killed them.

Thus, if Jesus’s death, in itself, didn’t actually accomplish anything, didn’t actually save anyone from death, hell, punishment, danger, or anything else… it appears to me by definition a needless death.

And, if it was one he chose, then it appears to me not analogous to the soldier who throws himself on a grenade to accomplish saving the life of his comrades, but a soldier that leaves the safety of a foxhole and intentionally jumps into the line of enemy fire in order to accomplish… nothing.

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True, and not just the Torah… But also Paul, Peter, John, the author of Hebrews…


Apparently, Jesus was selfish and cowardly according to your metric then because your exegesis here is unsound. Jesus was human. That’s the whole point of the incarnation. He shared in our experiences and pain. Anxiety over death is natural and normal. You can’t not have uncertainty and some anxiousness over death if you are about to be tortured and killed and actually be fully human. None of this is a sin or cowardice. Jesus didn’t run away with Mary Magdalene. He went willingly but it didn’t mean he wasn’t nervous or anxious.

Hebrews 2:17: For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

As Dorothy Sayers wrote: " “For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is— limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—He had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself.He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile.”

The problem with the different portrayals to me is the post Easter church and Gospel of John makes it seem like Jesus knew everything about his death in advance. Most Christians force it it all together (John and Mark) by claiming one is the divine side and the other is human --the schizophrenic Jesus dictated by inerrancy. Personally, I think, rather, that John is based on years of theological mediation on who the person of Jesus was/is. The divine and earthly Jesus have been merged into one in John.

John Dominic Crossan wryly observed: "If you read the four gospels vertically and consecutively, from the start to finish and one after another, you get a generally persuasive impression of unity, harmony, and agreement. But if you read them horizontally and comparatively, focusing on this or that unit and comparing it across two, three or four versions, it is disagreement rather than agreement that strikes you most forcibly. And those divergences stem not from the random vagaries of memory and recall but from the coherent and consistent theologies of individual texts. The gospels are, in other words, interpretations.” (JRVp.X)

As far as the verse in question, compare John and GMark in the passion:

[1] In Mark Jesus --greatly disturbed-- asks that the cup be taken away. In John (12:27) Jesus literally scoffs at the heretical notion of asking that the cup be taken from him.

[2] In Mark Jesus is seized or captured and the disciples run . In John Jesus lets the soldiers accompany him to his glorification and lets his disciples go free.

[3] In Mark it is Jesus who is prostrate on the ground praying before meeting his captors. In John it is the arresting party (a detachment of soldiers, their commander and Jewish leaders) who all fall to the ground when Jesus identifies himself.

[4] In Mark, Pilate interrogates Jesus. In John, one might get the impression Jesus is interrogating Pilate.

[5] In Mark, a painfully human Jesus is granted assistance carrying his cross. In John, the serenely transcendental and always-in-charge-Jesus requires no assistance at fulfilling the cup the father poured for him.

[6] In Mark Jesus is offered a drink while crying out on the cross My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? In John after Jesus realizes knowing all is finished and so that scripture could be fulfilled he says I am thirsty and someone brings him a drink.

[7] In Mark, Jesus lets out a loud cry and breaths his last breath. In John, knowing that all is fulfilled, Jesus chooses to give up his spirit. In John not only do the arresting party and Pilate have no power over Jesus, death itself does not have any power over Jesus.

Sure you can harmonize some of these details but that’s to misinterpret them altogether. John represents years of prayer and post-Easter beliefs of who Jesus ultimately was. The account in Mark shows a very human Jesus obedient to God, willing but nervous about death.



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