Sunday, August 10, 2008

Walter Martin:


Mark 14:34‑36
"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch." Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Calvary did not sneak up on Jesus of Nazareth. He had prophesied repeatedly that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men; he must go to Jerusalem, he must suffer many things from the Chief Priest and the Scribes, he must die and rise the third day.

The core of a great spiritual truth of the Easter season is something we often fail to see. Do you remember when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane? "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:36) Some theologians have said that in this verse Jesus was displaying true humanity. He was frightened at the prospect of imprisonment, punishment, and death, just like any of us would be. And so he cried out, “Father! If there is a way for me to avoid this, let it be so.”

That’s not what it says. What is the cup? It’s not the cup of suffering because Jesus said he’d been born to this end. He knew all the things that were going to happen to him. What is the meaning of that cup? If you study your Bible, you’ll find out that it’s the cup of fellowship. This cup is a very important cup. It is the symbol of union. What Jesus was saying was this, “If it’s possible for me, Father, to go through the hell of Calvary and not break my fellowship with you, please let it be.”

Do you know what the agony of the Cross was? Not just the physical suffering for your sins and mine, and the spiritual anguish of rejection, but the absolute horror of suddenly being separated from the cup of fellowship you’ve had with your Father from all eternity. Jesus said, “Oh please, Father, if I can just maintain fellowship...” The Father said, “No. You can’t maintain fellowship, but you will never be left alone.”

The Father looked upon the Son as the sin offering for the world. Contrary to popular evangelistic fervor, he did not turn his back on Jesus and walk away. No, he studiously looked upon the suffering of his Son and realized, in the agony of himself and Christ, that there was a separation of fellowship between them. For God cannot tolerate the presence of evil, and Christ—who knew no sin—was made to become sin for us that we might be made as righteous as God by faith in him.

This is the cup that Jesus did not want to have to endure: the moment when the Father and he would be in a separation of fellowship. Scripture gives us that lesson so we will never, ever underestimate the suffering of the Cross.


Blogger JohnD said...

I have to say that while you make a series of good points, the scriptures are too vague on the subject (to my way of seeing) to say if it was the agony of the realization of broken fellowship with the Father or that of becoming the sin offering.

I personally lean more towards the latter:

1. sin is repugnant to God in ways we cannot imagine
2. the broken fellowship was addressed when he cried out from the cross aside from everything else that was happening to him he cried out "eli eli lama sabachthani"

Otherwise the repudiation Jesus had of sin would not be of record. And since the subject of broken fellowship centers on God's repudiation of sin (and Jesus is God the Word), I would find that absence in the record curious.

Maybe I am overlooking something...

1:26 PM  
Blogger JohnD said...

Take "Jesus wept" for example...

1. Many believe and teach that it was over the death of Lazarus his friend, pivoting on that was the interpretation of the Jews who were there.

2. Some teach that Jesus wept in anger at death... for its enetering into the human equasion in the first place.

3. I say what is being overlooked is the manifestation through his human emotion the bigger things going on at the time.

If we are careful to read the account in John 11 we see that essentially the Father gave the Son the go ahead to raise Lazarus under his own power... a thing he could not readily do and still qualify as the human kinsman redeemer... which is what the three temptations were really about... disqualifying man's only hope for redemption.

In Gethsemane "the olive press" the revolting bitter dregs he faced the thought of drinking (to the point his capillaries burst and he bled through his sweat glands) was looking at human sin past, present, and future as it were a cup of swill to get down his gullet.

Again, I may be missing something... but these things were not only what he knew in his Spirit would happen since before the was an earth (Revelation 13:8). And since Jesus began his distinctiveness from the Father (and the Spirit for that matter) whenever it was that he began to empty himself and certainly when he became a man... I have to say it was the revoltion of sin more than the broken fellowship from the Father.

Another point is that as a resurrected man, a state which he will remain in forever, he has not known full fellowship with the Father and the Spirit since the incarnation began (with a brief reprise in the three days between his death and resurrection when he took the captivity from Abraham's Bosom captive to ascend to the highest heaven Eph 4:8-10 / Lu 23:43)

1:43 PM  
Blogger JohnD said...


I may not have come across as intended... meaning not that a) "I am right -- you are wrong" but b) I offered a different perspective that explains why I think the conclusions I arrived at are correct.

Big difference in a) and b).

God bless.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Jill Martin Rische said...


This is my father's analysis of the passage, based on the Greek. I tend to agree with him but we are all entitled to our own opinions. No problem :). I have been busier than usual this week so your posts slipped by me.


9:22 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

I love the website and Dr. Martin is a great teacher. I am fortunate my friend Steve introduced me to him.

4:36 PM  

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