The Impossible Prayer: Matthew 26:39
“39) And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26‬:‭39‬ ‭
As Jesus led His disciples in to the Garden of Gethsemane for prayer, His soul was deeply grieved to the point of death. As mentioned previously, “Gethsemane” means “olive press.”
Very likely, the garden itself contained an olive press to squeeze freshly picked olives into fine oil. There was no other way to make olive oil but through the use of the press. What a fitting picture of what Jesus was about to endure.
It was here that He “fell on His face” and prayed the impossible prayer; “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” Being Omniscient, He knew full well what awaited Him in the crucifixion. He knew not only the physical pain about to be inflicted by man, He knew also the soul pain He was about to endure as He took on the sins of the world to satisfy the wrath of God. The ravages of hell was about to be poured out on Him.
This is where the comprehension of the theologian falls short. What Jesus willing endured for love of humanity cannot be understood by humanity. He was about to endure far more than physical pain. He was about to be crushed in the “wine press of the wrath of God.” (See Revelation Revelation 14:19-20)
The redemption of humanity was costly. Only a sinless sacrifice could match the price. In the Garden on His face laid “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (See John 1:29) He was wrestling with His Father about the fate that awaited Him.
Prayer is often a time of wrestling. It sometimes includes impossible requests until heavenly peace and tranquility settles the anguish of the soul. Only when submission to the will of the Father comes can the petitioner sincerely say; “It is well with my soul.”
Many times intercession moves the heart of God and the request is granted. But Jesus was pleading an impossible prayer. There was no other way to accomplish human redemption but that He be “crushed for our iniquities.” (See Isaiah 53:4-5) The olive press fit the analogy, it awaited Him.
His breakthrough is recorded in Matthew 26:42. His second time of prayer shows the total submission and resolution of His heart; “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done.” His inner battle was over. He was at peace. He had come to surrender.
But one question remains; why “Gethsemane?” Why an olive press instead of a wine press? For starts, because olive oil was used to fuel lamps. Jesus was about to become the fuel to light the gospel message. His story was about to shine around the world. He is indeed the light of the world. Olive oil was also used in cooking. It was often mixed in bread dough. Jesus is the bread of life. Olive oil also has medicinal value. He is the Great Physician, by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
There are numerous more insights about olive oil, but by contrast, wine is used for celebration. According to Matthew 26:29, He is not going to drink of the cup of the vine again until we all join Him in His Fathers Kingdom. The big day of celebration will not begin until the last lost soul in His flock is safely home.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global