Take This Cup | Luke 22

Welcome to Real Life. On the Mount of Olives, the All Powerful One needed strength.
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.[1]
It may be the most poignant prayer in the Bible. It is the night before the cross, the night of Jesus’ most intense spiritual battle, the night before all hell would break loose.

Earlier in the evening, Jesus shared a last supper with his disciples. Afterwards, although he knew Judas would betray him, Jesus went as usual to the Mount of Olives.[2] He could have gone to an alternate location, a place where Judas did not expect him to go, a place where Judas could not find him. But he did not.

When he arrived at the Mount of Olives, he withdrew a stone’s throw from his disciples. He knelt and prayed, “Father, if you are willing take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Why is this prayer in the Bible? A good portion of Jesus’ life was spent in prayer. Most of these conversations have been hidden from our eyes. But not this one. God ensured this plea was recorded in his Book for you and for me. Because first, it teaches us to be vulnerably honest with our Father God. He can handle our questions, doubts, fears, and especially our anguish. We don’t have to pray words we think God wants to hear. We can bear our souls honestly and unfiltered to the One who loves us.

Second, this prayer teaches us that when we turn to our Father God at our weakest and most vulnerable point, he will strengthen us. We do not have to pretend we are strong and full of faith. God knows the truth anyway. Where do we go when we are upset, overwhelmed, in anguish? We run to God. Because prayer is powerful. God hears. He answers. He gave Jesus the strength to endure the cross. He will give us the strength to endure our crosses.

Yet not my will, but yours be done. God heard. He answered. However, even though Jesus pleaded on his knees, though he sweat great drops of blood, God did not change the plan. Jesus was arrested, scourged, and nailed to a criminal’s cross where he suffered, bled, and died. The Father did not take the cup away.

So, thirdly, this prayer teaches us that although God hears and answers, he may have a different plan. Not my will, but yours be done. I have struggled through some painful things. I know you have, too. In my own words, I have prayed, “Take this cup from me.” Some things God took away. Hallelujah! Others, he did not. Though I don’t fully understand why, Jesus’ prayer encourages me. Because even though the Father loved the Son, was pleased with the Son, and the Son was sinless and perfect, he did not take the cup away.

In Jesus’ case, we know why. The cross is the reason he came. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for my sin and yours. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.[3] We, however, are not the Savior. Jesus Christ paid our pardon. So, why doesn’t God always remove our cup of suffering? The simple answer is sometimes his will leads directly through the path of pain.

When the apostle Paul pleaded with God to remove his thorn in the flesh, God answered, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV). God heard. He answered. But it was not the answer Paul was hoping for. Not my will, but yours be done. God had a purpose for that thorn—it kept Paul humble.[4]

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me. Like Jesus, when we turn to the Father in our anguish, he hears. He answers. Even when his answer is no, of this we can be sure. He still loves us. He will give us the strength to endure. Because our Father has a better plan—a plan to use even the most painful things for our ultimate good. Because Jesus Christ endured the cross, he conquered death. He arose in power and glory on Sunday morning! Not my will, but yours be done.

Dear Father God,
If you are willing, take this cup from us.
Take this pain, this hardship, this grief, this suffering.
Yet not our will, but yours be done.
We trust you, Lord.
We ask you to use even the most painful chapters of our story
For our ultimate good and your glory.
Give us the strength to endure. 
Thank you that because your Son suffered for us, 
We will inherit a kingdom where there will be
No more tears or pain or suffering. Hallelujah!
In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Take it further...

Pain, hardship, and suffering are the results of living in a world broken by sin. Sometimes, however, God chooses to allow them to fulfill his good purposes in us, such as:
  • God matures and perfects us through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10)
  • Suffering purifies us. (1 Peter 4:1)
  • Pain causes us to long for heaven. It reminds us this life is only temporary. (Philippians 1:21-23)
  • Our pain grows our compassion for others in pain. (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)
  • Suffering opens our souls to receive more of God. (Hebrews 12:11)

Image of Jesus from Free Bible Images (LUMO Project)
[1] Luke 22:42
[2] Luke 22:39
[3] Hebrews 9:22
[4] 2 Corinthians 12:7


  1. Thanks for this, Peggi, to be reminded where to turn in our suffering instead of curling up and wallowing in self-pity!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and encourage me with your comment, my friend! Our God is good, even when life is hard!


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