Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "The Cup"


Ultimately, no pastor—only the Holy Spirit—can communicate what happened in Gethsemane.

The scene in the garden gives us a unique glimpse into the humanity of Jesus. Here, we encounter the mystery of the incarnation.

Marvel at his humanity, but don’t just marvel; be grateful! It is the basis for your salvation.

Thesis – Jesus’ Suffering for our Sin through the Crucible of Human Weakness Meant Three Things:

Relational Abandonment

  • He makes his way to Calvary alone. Mark makes this clear in his gospel.
  • Jesus didn’t just feel alone, rather, Jesus truly was alone.

Distress of Soul

  • vv. 33b-34: “He began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.”
  • The distress of soul is so great that death draws near to him in that very moment (“even to death”). He’s drawing near to the experience of death prior to his crucifixion.
  • He fell on the ground. He can no longer remain upright.
  • In vv. 14 and 26, there is no evidence of distress of soul. The distress appears to come on abruptly. Why abruptly? Because of the cup. v. 36: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” It represents the wrath of God. As he contemplated drinking the contents of this cup, he experienced a shuttering terror. His impending death was no surprise to him. He just finished inaugurating the meal by which his death would be remembered. So why the sudden distress of soul? Luke says he was “in agony,” and, “his sweat become like drops of blood, falling to the ground.”It was not the prospect of mortality that was a shuttering terror. Rather, it was the prospect of him who knew no sin being made sin for us—sin that would receive the piercing, crushing wrath of God.
  • Jesus makes the appeal for an alternative three times. If there was any other way to save us from our sin, God would have answered Jesus’ prayer by providing an alternative to the cross. There was no other way.
  • There is no appropriate illustration because only he has been there and done this! We cannot understand. By not pretending that an appropriate illustration exists, the Savior is honored. His experience stands apart. There is no likeness to it.

Obedient Resolve

  • He emerges from the garden quite differently than he entered the garden. He emerges with a determination to fulfill his purpose. To bear way our sin, he had to resolve to bear God’s wrath through the crucible of human weakness.

Application: What does it mean for us?

Recognize His Love for You

  • Be freshly overwhelmed by his love!
  • You cannot accompany Jesus into Gethsemane and emerge from it unaware of your sin, because it is your sin that requires him to experience this.
  • Gethsemane interprets and reveals Calvary.
  • In the prophets, it was the wicked nations that would drink the cup of wrath because of their sin. But here, it’s the only innocent one. He takes the cup with both hands and drinks wrath dry.
  • The very cup that was in our hands that we should have drunk in all this life and all eternity, he took and drank! He drank our damnation dry. And not only that, but then he puts into our hands a different cup. The cup of salvation.
  • Now, doesn’t it sound foolish to complain, “Jesus doesn’t love me.”

Receive His Love for You

  • Because Jesus went through Gethsemane, you will never go through your own Gethsemane.
  • We need to protect the uniqueness of Gethsemane.
  • Hebrews 4:15ff
  • What an inestimable comfort it is to us that it is this one who is ever interceding for us when we encounter suffering.

Discussion Questions

  1. Pastor CJ says that an appropriate response of the Christian to Gethsemane is to feel loved. Does Gethsemane make you feel loved? If so, why? If not, why not?
  2. Use your own words to describe in one short phrase what happened in Gethsemane.
  3. What is an area of your life in which you hate the thought of saying to God, “Yet not what I will, but what you will”? How can what happened in Gethsemane help you to submit this area of your life to God?

[by Taylor Mason]