Questions and Answers about the will of the Lord as He agonized in the Garden:
The following question arose in trying to write a play for Easter.
The answers are in italics.
I have a biblical a question for you. Remembering the agony that Christ went through in the garden, and remembering His humanity as well as His deity, do you think it's possible that He wondered whether He could go through with the Father's plan as they had discussed it?
No, I think the issues your are concerned about have to do with Satan's attack against Him in the Garden, not with the sorrows of the Cross.
"He began to be sore amazed and to be very heavy." Mark 14:32
Notice the next verse says: 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
The death that the Lord is talking about has to do with the attack of
Satan in the Garden, not on the cross. The Lord was attacked when He began
His earthly ministry and He was attacked at the end. We would call this
attack depression (remember Elijah, Jonah and other good men were afflicted by
when they felt everything was against them). We are reluctant to call this depression with the Lord because we assume Christians can't be depressed unless they have failed in some way and the Lord didn't fail. We never link depression to Satanic attack. The Lord had an angel come and strengthen Him at the end of this attack (Luke 22:42.) If the cross were in view, why hadn't He agonized like this before? He knew the plan of God and had explained it in on many occasions to his disciples. I realize that a condemned man's last moments or days are likely the worst but there is never a hint of unwillingness or of praying for another way before this that I know of.
Wuest says that the Greek for "sore amazed" means to throw into amazement or terror and "to be very heavy" indicates the distress that follows a great shock. ---As if for the first time His human side really began to see all that lay ahead of Him. (Hebrews: "He learned obedience by the things He suffered.)
The full quote here should include the preceding verse: Hebrews 5:7 Who in
the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with
strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was
heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the
things which he suffered;
In verse 7, where was he "heard"? and I take that to mean that His prayer was answered and He was delivered from death. I don't think His strong crying and tears were at the cross but in the garden. He wasn't delivered from the death of the cross but from the death that was mentioned in the garden (the sorrow of His soul). He didn't die from pain or amazement or depression but the Spiritual and mental sufferings here are because of Satanic attack and were designed to keep Him from the death of the cross. At the cross His death was voluntary. Here death would have been an easy way out and would have been a defeat rather than a victory.
As a son he didn't learn to be obedient here but he learned experimentally as a human the cost of obedience. I think the word learned needs to be understood idiomatically and would be better translated, He experienced obedience by the things that He suffered.
I'm using Wuest to get a feel for the intensity of His suffering. I want the dialogue to be accurate, and yet I want to give a glimpse of what He was experiencing when He said "Cause this cup to pass from Me. But not what I desire, but what You desire."
Again, I do not believe He is praying that the events of the cross pass from Him although this cup could include the garden and the cross. But I believe He is submitting Himself to the suffering of the garden here if this is the will of the Father. I do not like the word desire or will in the above translation. His desires and the Father's desires are one. His will and the Father's will are one. What He is saying is that as an obedient servant, Mark is the gospel of the servant, He is not doing this on His own but is doing it in submission to a greater plan. Again, I would have translated the word will as plan or purpose here and in Luke. In Luke 22:42 it reads, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from
me: nevertheless not my will (plan or purpose), but thine, be done. This is a statement of submission, not a statement of unwillingness weakness or doubt.
Here's the dialogue I have going at this point:
Jesus: Abba. Father. All things are possible to You. You can cause this terrible cup to pass right on by. You can save Me from this horrible death. Is there no other way? Must I bear the weight of their sins in this way? Must I pay this price? (Crying.) I'm not doubting Your plan. I agreed to do this, and I will follow through with whatever You think is best. Let Your will be done, not Mine.
You will find those that totally agree with your statement above and I surely won't find fault with it if you use it. However, I personally do not think it is accurate. When we read that with God all things are possible, that statement must be taken in its context and I don't think it means that it would be possible for the Lord to avoid the cross and I would be unwilling to even imply it. This gets into a question of "what do words mean" and into the problem of there being two sides to every issue (usually a divine and manward side). Of course, as God, He could do whatever He wanted. But as a loving God who wanted to provide a just redemption, He could not. I do not think that the questions in the garden imply that these questions were in His mind. I think I could find it more acceptable if the questions were changed to statements and a few other revisions were made as follows:
Jesus: Abba. Father. All things are possible to You, but there is no other way. I must bear the weight of their sins in this way! I must pay this price! (Crying.) This plan is right. I agreed to do this, and I will follow through with what was planned before the world was.
My question for you is IS THIS ACCURATE in your mind? HELP!!!
My thoughts are in italics and on a problem like this, I reserve the right
to change my mind without notice.
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