"If possible, let this cup pass from me"


My difficulty with Matthew 26:39 is that Jesus, knowing that He would die for us as He had announced several times, still asks to the Father “If possible, let this cup pass from me”.

I am well aware of the fact that Jesus was experiencing fear, but nevertheless, He repeated He came to give His life.

How do you see this? Thank you


D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 39. Going a little further. St. Luke says, about a stone’s cast, kneeling down; or as here in Matthew, prostrating himself. He did both. — Father, if it is possible. Which is the same, says St. Augustine, as if he said, if thou wilt, let this cup of sufferings pass from me. — Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. He that was God and man, had both a divine and a human will. He was pleased to let us know what he naturally feared, as man, and in the sensitive part of his soul; yet shews his human will had nothing contrary to his divine will, by presently adding, but not my will, but thine be done. Here, as related by St. Luke, followed his bloody sweat. (Luke xxii. 43[44?].) (Witham) — These words are a source of instruction for all Christians. These words inflame the breasts of confessors; the same also crown the fortitude of the martyrs. For, who could overcome the hatred of the world, the assaults of temptations, and the terrors of persecutors, unless Christ in all, and for all, had said to his eternal Father: Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou willest. Let all the children of the Church then understand well these words, that when calamities violently beat upon us, we may with resignation exclaim: nevertheless, not as I will, but, &c. (St. Leo the great)


Thank you thistle; I have read these commentaries before asking. The thing is, when Agustine says: “Father, if it is possible. Which is the same, says St. Augustine, as if he said, if thou wilt, let this cup of sufferings pass from me.” I agree it is the same for Jesus to says, if possible and if you wish. But Jesus knew what the Father wished, as He told what would happen. So why petition the Father for what He knew (and willled) would happen to Him?


Jesus was speaking with His human nature. Remember how Abraham took Isaac to sacrifice, and at the last moment, God provided a different way?

Yet, Jesus’ human nature was subordinate to His divine nature. His divine nature was the same as the Father’s. Jesus was willing and obedient, even through this. But His human nature did not want to suffer! He was sweating drops of blood just “seeing” what was about to happen to Him! Scary! He saw it all, and still willingly accepted it!


But God/ Jesus, still knew what was going to happen, even before being born into this world.

In the end, God/ Jesus could have achieved the same thing by simply making it so, I mean, he is God, he can do anything.


In order to free us from the bond age of sin, in the flesh, Jesus needed to die, as a perfect sacrifice. We demanded that through our disobedience to God. He could not have power over the prince of this world (on our behalf) without dying.


I don’t doubt the willingness to die, as I said above. I am asking why would Jesus even supply the Father, if possible, since He does what the Father wills, and He does indeed know what the Father wills from all eternity? Even in His human nature, Jesus would talk openly about His sacrifice. So why then say, if possible? The decision was made.

I guess it isn’t much more of a pedagogic way to tell about Jesus’ fear, suffering and that He experienced everything in His flesh. Yet, it sounds odd, as he says He is going to give His life.


But He chooses not to do anything.

He chose to follow a very coerent and fair pattern.

This choice implies sacrifices.

The crucifixion of Jesus is a mystery.

As human He needed to die but not necessarly be killed (That’s why Jesus could make such Petition) He could died naturally like Mary.

I think there were two possibilities. One death by execution like the Lamb. Or a natural death as the scapegoat.

Both animals were used in atonement in Judaism.

Or He was just asking more time to teach His disciples.



I found this commentary here, which sheds some light on the meaning of the “if possible”.

“…the removal of the cup from Christ was possible in itself, but not as things were circumstanced, and as matters then stood; and therefore it is hypothetically put, “if it be possible”, as it was not; and that by reason of the decrees and purposes of God, which had fixed it, and are immutable; and on account of the covenant of grace, of which this was a considerable branch and article, and in which Christ had agreed unto it, and is unalterable; and also on the score of the prophecies of the Old Testament…”

Then, the commentary goes on to say : “Besides, Christ had foretold it himself once and again, and therefore consistent with the truth of his own predictions, it could not be dispensed with.”

So I am left with my question: knowing all this, why petition the Father? I don’t see another reason than for the reader to get a glimpse of the violence of His agony.


We must not overlook the fact that Jesus ALONE possess’s BOT a perfect HUMAN nature & always His Perfect Divine Nature.

This passage is in His Human nature BUT at the SAME time knowing and permitting his Divine Nature to RULE. … “NOT MY WILL BUT THY WILL BE done”



I didn’t overlook that. I think I am misunderstood…


Jesus has power over all things,including the prince of this world.
We make his death the price of redemption.

The bloodthirsty image of God in which only the cruel death of his beloved can accomplish his plan is erroneous.
Christ must go that depth because that’s the depth to which we go. If we would have simply said yes to the Gospel… we wouldn’t be having this conversation.


Ok, one more time.
I am not disputing the hypostatic union, nor which nature of the two is speaking here. For now, let’s not consider that. My question is simply: Why would Jesus petition the Lord to not drink the cup, if possible, since 1) God had decreeted how to save humanity, namely by Christ’S death and 2) Jesus had to fulfill the prophecies about Him; 3) He foretold that he would suffer and die?


Goes back to the Koine Greek word for pass


Which basically means come forth or arrive:


Jesus is troubled, but is essentially saying, bring it on.

As evidenced by his lack of resistance in the garden when they come to capture him.


Ok, why then say “…] but (or yet or still) not My will but Yours?” the first sense in the link you providewould make more sense.

**πλην **ουχ ως εγω θελω αλλ ως συ (and the verb I have in my Greek version is παρελθετω.

A concordance I have contrasts Απελθέτω (come forth) form the OT with the verb in Matthew. MAybe there is a double sense in the Greek. Even if we grant that, why a “πλην”?


Yes, and He gained the power to give US His own life, THROUGH His own death.

The bloodthirsty image of God in which only the cruel death of his beloved can accomplish his plan is erroneous.

God did not kill Jesus. The price of our redemption was the death of the Son of God. We killed Jesus. God demands justice. Blood for sin.

Christ must go that depth because that’s the depth to which we go. If we would have simply said yes to the Gospel… we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

I have not, and likely will never be martyred for the faith. I am not that strong. Even if I was, it’s only because He had done so first, and gave me the grace to do so. “All have fallen short of the Glory of God”.


OK, then permit me another attempt at your OPQ

What was taking place “here” was an affirmation of Jesus’s humanity.

Only a fool would knowing enter into such a situation without fear. BUT fear isn’t the only issue here; HUMBLE-OBEDIENCE is the LESSON to be learned.

We must not overlook:

Matthew 26:42
Again the second time, he went and prayed, saying: My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done




I am not denying the accentuation of Jesus’ humanity, nor that it was a lesson in humility.
I ask, on a literal level, why would He think God may take the Cup away, when He foretold it?
That is why I think it is simply a lesson, but not to say that Jesus wished God to change His plan that the whole Trinity accepted and decreeted.


We must follow Jesus, he was humble and we must be too. If he rolled His sleeves up and marched off it would seem like pride which He would never do.

It must have been scary though.


I understand what you are saying. I believe somehow there is something more to Jesus words than what we perceive at face value, I just don’t know what. And it has been a long struggle with nothing but dead ends.

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