"Take this cup from Me, if it be possible.."


“Father,*** all things are possible you***. Take this cup from Me, but not as I will but as You will.”

Okay, this has always confused me. Jesus knew He would die. He chose to and was “slain from the foundation of the world.” And I understand that His human nature was terrified. I also understand that His will was inseparable from the Father’s. So…

If He has been slain from the foundation of the world was it really possible the Father could take the cup away in the first place? To God, who is eternal all history is a single point. So to Him it had already happened. I am not here questioning Jesus’ willingness, as obviously He had eternally agreed to die for us, but whether Jesus meant the Father really could change things, or was Jesus using it as an expression about how much His humanity was suffering under the weight of Divine wrath? I dunno if I’m being clear.


Sometimes when we pray for something and do not get it because it is not in God’s will we can think that Jesus himself experienced the same and He accepted it, as terrible as what He was to endure than so should we.

He showed humility, it would have been arrogant to puff His chest out and say “I can take it”; we must follow His example.


Thank you, Nelka. But again, the question is in regard to the word “possible”, as in “All things are possible for You,”, not whether Jesus was really changing His mind. I’m asking if this meant that God could have changed His plans though His plans are immutable. He’s already ordained it to happen. God can’t change so I’m really wondering if Jesus was just being hyperbolic when he told the Father, “All things are possible for you, take this cup from Me…”. It seems a contradiction. And I know God cannot contradict Himself, so obviously I’m missing something. The question is what.


Q: Which Bible translation are you using for this verse?


Sorry was paraphrasing. Direct quote from Matthew:26:39 - And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” NASB


To correct or at least clarify something from OP’s original post,
From the Catechism:

475 Similarly, at the sixth ecumenical council, Constantinople III in 681, the Church confessed that Christ possesses two wills and two natural operations, divine and human. They are not opposed to each other, but cooperate in such a way that the Word made flesh willed humanly in obedience to his Father all that he had decided divinely with the Father and the Holy Spirit for our salvation. Christ’s human will “does not resist or oppose but rather submits to his divine and almighty will.”

Remember, Christ was fully human and fully divine. Fully human, Jesus had a human will and intellect.


This, to me, was Jesus’ most human side since he was in diapers stealing matsoh from the cupboard while Mary pretended not to notice.

It’s the most piteous wail, along with asking God from the Cross, “Why have You forsaken me?”

Jesus even tried to beg that His human ministry could continue. “I don’t want to die,” he said. “I know I have to die a gruesome death, but I don’t want to.”

He laid bare his humanness. And then He said, “Not My will, but Your will, Father.”

Jesus even said, “All things are possible,” like a child who says, “Dad, you can give me a extra half hour before bedtime.” And dad says, “You’re right, I can. But you need all the sleep you can get to grow big and strong, so get to bed.”

But Jesus wasn’t born for only a Ministry. He was born to the the Perfect Sacrifice for us: past, present, and future. The event to come was always going to happen. The time and place could have been variable, but God set His plan in motion long before Christ was born among us.

My analogy falls short as the death of Christ wasn’t for His benefit: it was for ours.

God can always change His plans. Isn’t that what turned Jonah into a whiner about Ninevah? God showed mercy numerous times in the Old Testament, though much of the writings left to us view God myopically as wrathful. Instead, He warns His people of the consequences to their actions…and if they persist in sin, then there is fallout.

God could have held back the fixed point in time for Jesus’ death, delaying by a day, a month, a year…or longer. But this plan had so many players among the apostles, Sanhedrin, and Romans that God knew the manner and timing was the “perfect point in time” per His plan.

Now to your specific question: Could God have altered His plan? Yes. He had before. God is unchanging in His mercy, not unchanging in His restraining wrath. He will stay His wrath when His people repent. This is how God is constant.

The papacy is unchanging, but Francis can depart from liturgical norms. No less can God choose to be moved or unmoved by our prayers, even the prayers of Jesus, as God is omnipotent.

Instead of showing mercy to His Son, He showed mercy to all of mankind. Even though Jesus begged, God chose our spiritual welfare over Christ’s physical welfare.

He is slow to anger and quick to forgive, but we are the ones who have to reconcile our ways after His forgiveness. God doesn’t change in His mercy, we are not consistent (as a people) in our response to it.


Thank you, TheFixer. Again, yes, this is exactly my point. His Will is perfectly united to the Father’s. Let me clarify the question again. When He uses the word “possible”, as in “If it is possible…” what does He mean? Being God, having a perfectly united Will to the Father, He knows, what must happen must happen. He knows it is NOT possible because His own will, Their wills are immutable and unchanging. So, bearing this in mind, why does He say it is possible the cup be taken away at all? I am not trying to be a smart aleck, I really am just curious.


Thank you, Miserissima.


I think it’s worth noting that He doesn’t say this bolded section at all. He says “if.” And since the cup did not pass from Him, then I suppose the answer is that it actually was not possible that it could.

Notice, though, that immediately after asking this question, He goes on to say, “but not my will, but yours, be done.” He specifically ties possibility to God’s will. Moreover, He ties the possibility that the cup will pass to His own (human) will, and implies that the impossibility of the cup passing to the Father’s will.

I wonder if this is possibly an allusion to the Original Sin. When Adam and Eve exercised their wills in contrary to the Father’s, they effectively said, “not your will, but mine be done.” And since Christ ties this to the notion of possibilities, we can understand that what Adam and Eve desired to accomplish in their disobedience was effectively impossible. If they were lured in by the idea they could “be like God” through the exercise of their own will contrarily to the Father’s, then what they were lured by was a lie, an impossibility.

Perhaps in stating it this way, Christ made a vocal act of obedience in recognition of the fact that only through God are all things possible, and not through any power of our own wills. This is done in reparation of the vocal deceit that Adam and Eve fell victim to in believing that their own wills could effect their own sets of possibilities outside of God’s directive will.


In one of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Catenas Aurea, one of the early Church fathers stated that what Jesus did not want was: that the cup would not pass from Himself to us; that, if it had to be drunk, He would drink it. If at any time His concerned inward, it would seem that He would have sin–because sin often makes us think of ourselves first and then others. God, being Love itself, always thinks of others.

He came to Jerusalem to die. He said He was looking for to eating this Passover with His disciples. They ate the sacrificial lamb; He knew what that was about and what was going to occur; yet we have nothing in Scripture or Tradition as to what was said, until it came to the institution of the Eucharist, and then He spoke the words. Then He went to the Garden, says one of the early Church fathers, because He knew that Judas knew He went there frequently. It was not until He left the other eight that “He troubled Himself.” According to the early Church father–if I’m not mistaken here–He turned Himself over fully to His human nature. I am thinking Jesus had to identify fully with our struggles but could not sin. Therefore, He could pray as He did. To fully glorify God, to give us the full beatific vision we are going to enjoy, He had to suffer as He did. Anything less would not be sufficient; anything more would have been excessive.


If you read about this matter in Ven. Mary of Agreda’s *Mystical City of God * you will perfectly understand what Jesus meant when He said what He said. God bless you.


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