Jesus predicts the panic of the disciples, however Peter denies that he will not.
So what prompted this declaration in spite of Jesus’ words?
Peter obviously loved Jesus but he was assuming that he had the strength to overcome the trials that were coming. This reminds us that we don’t know how weak we are until we are tested. We shouldn’t rely on our own strength to overcome our problems in life but should rely on God to provide the strength which He promises to give us (1 Cor 10:13).
Jesus knew what was about to happen and the knowledge of this was the reason for His anguish and sorrow. Jesus prayed and asked his disciples to ‘watch’ as well. He had already told the disciples that they were shortly going to stumble, so this watching could be to:
- Give Jesus support at this difficult time
- Prepare for what they themselves were about to experience
Because God is perfect, he must give perfect justice, and this means that rebellion against God must be punished. A key point here is the term ‘If it be possible’. A way to fulfill perfect justice and yet allow sinners into heaven was for a perfect person to be punished instead. This verse (Matt 26:39) shows us that this was not just one option out of many, but that it was the ONLY way to do this.
Matthew 26:42 shows that Jesus was the only person who could be sacrificed as a substitute for sinners. The cup that Jesus describes in the verses refers not to his physical death, but to the outpouring of God’s wrath at sin on Jesus while he was on the cross. It is this cup of suffering, poured out on Jesus, that saves us from the eternal punishment for our sin.
When Jesus talks about His will, He is talking about His human nature, this is illustrated in Matthew 26:41 where He says “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
In light of Peter’s declaration earlier, his falling asleep during a period that Jesus had asked him to stay awake for is not a very good start for the trails to come! Jesus teaches us the importance of prayer in that it helps strengthen us against temptation.
It is shown here and in other passages in the Bible that Jesus was in complete control of His death. Not only did He know what was going to happen but He did not or let anybody else try to stop those events occurring (Matthew 26:52-56). This was to fulfill not only the sacrifice for sin, but to also fulfill the many prophecies in the Bible about his death.
As just one example out of many, in Matthew 26:56 we have the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 13:7 (repeated in Matthew 26:31).