“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” —Matthew 26:39
What was in that cup? The wrath of God was in that cup and the drinking of that cup was awaiting the Lord Jesus upon that Roman tree that would be planted on Mount Calvary. If Jesus had not prayed that prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, it would have been sinful; because it would have meant that He rushed headlong into death and hell.
Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane what Adam did not do in the Garden of Eden. Adam did not pray to God while temptation and disobedience was before him. Christ, however, “knew no sin” and “was in all points tempted… yet without sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, Jesus was submissive to the heavenly Father’s will because He did “delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
As the heavenly Father purposes to conform us to the image of His Son, there are two trees set before us. One is a tree that only brings death through the knowledge of evil as it opposes good. It has its home in a natural, earthly garden. The other tree is the Tree of Life, that Roman cross of wood, where our Savior drank down the wrath of God. It has its home in a heavenly garden and, by God’s grace and through His Spirit, dwells in the hearts of those who are the called according to His purpose.
God often brings us to our own Gethsemane that we may increasingly submit to His will by faith as a delightful fulfillment of His law in our hearts. To grow by grace thereby, we must pray so that our prayers bring us to Christ’s cross. It is only at the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ that we have life; and it is only at His cross that we may find our cross in order to deny self and follow Him.