Our Lenten Devotion for Thursday, April 7, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:39 NIV
“In his immense loneliness, he fell on his face and cried out: ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by’ (Matthew 26:39). Jesus couldn’t face it. Too much pain to hold, too much suffering to embrace, too much agony to live through. He didn’t feel he could drink that cup filled to the brim with sorrows. Why then could he still say yes?”
(from Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 36Henri)
Our first parents had it all in that garden called Eden – paradise on earth. But they weren’t satisfied. They wanted to be like God. As a result of their rebellion, paradise seemed lost forever (See Genesis 3). But God had a plan He chose a young virgin to be the mother of his Son our Savior. Thirty-three years later, the climax of God’s plan unfolded in another garden called Gethsemane. But the tempter was back – telling an anguished Jesus that he could never drink that dreaded cup because it was filled to the brim with the sin and sorrows of all humanity. If he drank it, he would become sin, and his Father would forsake him. Jesus knew that if he refused the cup, paradise could never be restored. All of humanity would be lost forever. He knew what he needed to do. And he did it.
Perhaps Jesus drank that cup of blessing not only to redeem paradise for us, but also to call each of us to find the courage to drink a cup that is in front of us. And I wonder when I might have been called to find the courage to drink a difficult cup. What difficult cup does God call me to drink in the name of Christ? I invite you to consider that same question in your own life.
O Jesus, I am eternally grateful that you drank that cup completely so paradise could be restored. Amen.