This is the first in a series of four articles about topics that apparently I and a lot of Christians disagree on. These topics are: what was going on in the garden, on the cross, in the tomb, and the Atonement.
In the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives Matthew records Jesus saying, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." Matthew also tells of Him being "sorrowful and very heavy," and saying, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matt. 26:37-39). I have heard numerous sermons during my lifetime on these passages and this event and every one (except when my Dad preached on it) explained the events as Jesus' humanity showing through, and most of them said, in so many words, that Jesus was asking His Father if there was some other way than the cross He wanted it. I don't believe it for a minute!
Let's look at the word cup and how The Lord used it. The Greek word translated cup meant two things. First, it's a drinking-vessel. Second, it's used for the contents of a drinking-vessel, i.e. a cupful (draught), figuratively used as one's lot or fate. It's obvious Jesus is using the word in reference to His lot in life, or His fate; His being sacrificed on the cross for the sins of the world. In Matthew 20:22 He asks James and John and their mother if they are "able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of." In the garden, according to Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36, and Luke 22:42 He refers to what is happening there asthis cup. The cup is obviously referring to the crucifixion, while this cup, I think, is referring to what was happening at that moment in the garden. According to Luke 22:44 He was "in an agony, and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." I believe He felt like He was dying there in the garden (this cup), before He was going to get to the cross (the cup). He then shows His total trust in His Father when He says, "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Luke then says an angel came down and strengthened Him. I suspect Satan was unleashing everything he had to kill Him there in the garden and keep Him from the cross.
Jesus came to Earth to die on the cross as the Passover atonement for man's sin. Just hours before this garden agony, just after His entry into Jerusalem, He discussed in detail with some Greeks that Philip and Andrew had brought to see Him what was about to happen. He reminded them that a kernel of wheat had to go in the ground and die before it could bring forth much fruit. He then said, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour." Don't sound to me like a guy looking for a way out of a bad situation.
I'm sure Jesus wasn't looking forward to the severe beating He was about to take and the crucifixion; but it doesn't sound to me like He was trying to get out of it.