This scene of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane marks a critical moment in the larger narrative of Matthew’s Gospel, because of the consequences of this exact moment. Simply put this is THE deciding moment in the Gospel story. Jesus has repeatedly told the disciples of the necessity of his suffering and now he is faced with the imminent reality of actually suffering. The question driving the plot of this story is will Jesus continue along the path of submission to the Father?
The focus of Jesus’ life, a life lived in harmony with God’s divine plan for salvation, is inseparable from the death he anticipates. Faced with the looming reality of his death, Jesus desires that God “remove this cup.” What we see in Jesus’ prayer is that even in making this request Jesus affirms that his future is in God’s hands; if Jesus is to avoid his suffering and death, it will only be because God decides to do something else for the realization of His purpose. In this way, Jesus points to both God’s sovereignty and demonstrates his willing obedience to God. Praise the Lord that we have Jesus who sets for us the perfect example of humility and submission.