Decoding Matthew 26:39: What Did Jesus Really Mean?

Discover the profound message behind Matthew 26:39, where Jesus pleads for the cup to pass from Him. Uncover the true meaning and find clarity.

Last Updated:
February 21, 2024
8 Minutes

Table of Contents

Overview of Matthew 26:39 and its significance in the Bible

Matthew 26:39 is a significant verse in the Bible as it captures the moment when Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. In this verse, Jesus expresses his inner turmoil and submission to the will of God, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." This prayer highlights Jesus' humanity and willingness to surrender to God’s plan, even amid immense suffering.

The implications for believers are profound, as it teaches us about the power of prayer and the importance of aligning our will with God's. Jesus' prayer is a model for believers, showing humility, trust, and submission to God's will, even in difficult times.

This verse’s emotional and spiritual significance is profound, as it reveals Jesus' vulnerability and his unwavering commitment to fulfilling God's purpose. It also reminds believers that in times of difficulty, we can pray to God, seeking strength and guidance as we submit to His will.

In Matthew 26:39, Jesus sets an example for believers, teaching us valuable lessons about the nature of prayer and the importance of aligning our will with the will of God.

Brief explanation of Matthew 26:38 and its connection to Matthew 26:39

In the book of Matthew, chapter 26, verses 38 and 39, Jesus is depicted as facing intense emotional and spiritual struggle. In verse 38, Jesus tells his disciples, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." This passage reveals the deep anguish and emotional turmoil that Jesus was experiencing in the face of his impending crucifixion.

In verse 39, Jesus prays, "My Father, if possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." This verse underscores Jesus' unwavering commitment to fulfill his Father’s will, even amid his anguish.

The connection between these two verses is profound. In verse 38, we see Jesus expressing the depth of his anguish and sorrow, revealing his humanity and the enormity of the sacrifice he was about to make. And in verse 39, we witness his complete submission to the will of God, even in the face of his suffering.

These verses offer a powerful insight into the inner struggle of Jesus as he grappled with the weight of his mission and the impending suffering that he would have to endure. It also serves as a model for believers, demonstrating the importance of surrendering to God’s will, even amid our trials and struggles.

Ultimately, the connection between Matthew 26:38 and 26:39 serves as a poignant reminder of the depth of Jesus' love and sacrifice, and the unwavering obedience and submission to God's will that characterized his life and ministry.

Mentioning the involvement of Judas Iscariot in the events leading up to Matthew 26:39

Judas Iscariot played a significant role in the events leading up to Matthew 26:39. He betrayed Jesus by arranging for his arrest with the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver. At Gethsemane, Judas led a crowd to Jesus, identifying him with a kiss, which ultimately led to Jesus' arrest. His motivations for betraying Jesus are rooted in greed, as he was disappointed that Jesus did not fulfill his expectations of becoming a political leader.

The impact of Judas' betrayal for 30 pieces of silver was immense, as it directly led to Jesus' crucifixion. His actions set in motion the events that led to Jesus' trial, conviction, and subsequent crucifixion. Judas' betrayal of Jesus is a tragic example of the impact of greed and the willingness to betray someone for personal gain. This act ultimately led to the fulfillment of Jesus' purpose on earth.

Analysis of Matthew 26:39

In Matthew 26:39, Jesus prays in Gethsemane, expressing his internal struggle and submission to God's will. This prayer holds great significance as it captures the emotional and spiritual turmoil Jesus experiences before His ultimate sacrifice for humanity. Jesus' plea to let the cup pass from Him reveals His human nature, showing the depth of His suffering and the weight of the impending sacrifice. Despite this, Jesus ultimately submits to God's will, demonstrating unparalleled obedience and love for humanity.

This moment in Gethsemane reflects the duality of Jesus' nature as fully human and divine. It highlights His unwavering obedience to God's plan, even in intense emotional and spiritual distress. Christians facing difficult situations can find solace in Jesus' example of prayer. His prayer in Gethsemane teaches the importance of seeking God's will, even amid personal struggle, and the value of submitting to His plan. Jesus' prayer is a powerful model for Christians to follow when grappling with their challenges, reminding them to seek God's guidance and surrender to His perfect will.

Understanding the meaning behind Jesus' words in Matthew 26:39

In Matthew 26:39, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, saying "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will." This prayer is significant as it reflects Jesus' humanity and willingness to submit to God's will, even in the face of great suffering. It showcases the depth of Jesus' obedience and his intimate relationship with God, as he seeks strength and guidance amid his impending crucifixion.

The theological implications of this passage are profound, highlighting the dual nature of Christ as both fully human and fully divine. It underscores the sacrificial mission of Jesus, who willingly endured the cross to redeem humanity. Jesus' prayer also reveals the profound intimacy and trust he shares with God the Father, solidifying the understanding of the Trinity and the unity of purpose within the Godhead.

Overall, Matthew 26:39 illuminates the depth of Jesus' obedience, the nature of his relationship with God, and the sacrificial purpose of his earthly mission, providing a crucial insight into the profound significance of Christ's redemptive work.

Exploring the concept of fervent prayer about Matthew 26:39

In Matthew 26:39, we witness the intense and sincere fervent prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. In this passage, Jesus pleads with the Father, expressing his deep anguish and requesting the cup of suffering to be taken away from him. The significance of this plea lies in its raw display of vulnerability and submission to the will of God.

From this passage, we can glean various elements of fervent prayer. Firstly, fervent prayer involves a deep emotional intensity, as seen in Jesus' distress and fervent supplication. Secondly, it requires sincerity and honesty before God, as Jesus openly expresses his feelings and desires. Lastly, fervent prayer involves complete surrender and submission to God's will, as Jesus concludes his prayer by submitting to the Father's plan.

Overall, Matthew 26:39 provides a powerful example of fervent prayer, demonstrating the intensity, sincerity, and significance of this form of communication with God.

Examining the symbolism of drops of blood falling from Jesus' forehead

The drops of blood falling from Jesus' forehead hold deep symbolism, drawing from the rare medical condition of hematohidrosis. This condition, triggered by extreme stress, supports Luke's portrayal of Jesus' excruciating suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus, knowing the immense sacrifice He was about to make, prayed so fervently that His sweat became like drops of blood. This symbolizes His unwavering obedience to the Father’s will, even in the face of overwhelming anguish.

The significance of this symbolism lies in Jesus' sacrifice and the Father's plan for salvation. The drops of blood represent the depth of Jesus' suffering and the weight of the sins He would bear on the cross. Even unto death, his obedience highlights His immense love and commitment to fulfilling the Father's will. Through this act of sacrifice, salvation is made possible for all who believe in Him.

In this context, the drops of blood from Jesus' forehead serve as a poignant symbol of His suffering, obedience, and ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of humanity.

The Hands of Sinners and Religious Leaders

Sinners often use their hands to engage in immoral actions, such as stealing, harming others, or committing adultery. In Christianity, the Bible tells the story of the woman caught in adultery, where Jesus challenges those without sin to cast the first stone. This demonstrates a sinner's actions being halted by the religious leader, Jesus, using his hands to write in the sand, prompting reflection and mercy.

On the other hand, religious leaders, such as priests, monks, or nuns, use their hands to perform rituals, offer blessings, and comfort their followers. For example, in Islam, giving charity, or zakat, involves giving with one's hands, emphasizing kindness and generosity.

In historical events, the hands of religious leaders have had a significant impact on their followers. For instance, during the Civil Rights Movement, religious leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. used their hands to peacefully protest and lead their followers towards justice and equality.

In summary, the actions and behaviors of sinners and religious leaders as it relates to their hands can profoundly impact their followers' moral development and spiritual growth.

Discussing the role of sinners and religious leaders in Jesus' arrest and crucifixion

During the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane, it was the sinners, led by Judas Iscariot, who were directly responsible for handing Jesus over to the religious leaders. Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, attempted to defend him by cutting off the ear of one of the arresting officers, but Jesus rebuked him, showing that this was a part of God's plan. This event fulfilled the prophecy of the Messiah being betrayed by a close companion.

The religious leaders, including the chief priests and Pharisees, played a significant role in orchestrating Jesus' arrest and ensuring his crucifixion. They saw Jesus as a threat to their authority and were determined to eliminate him. They convinced Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, to sentence Jesus to death, despite him finding no fault in Jesus.

The involvement of sinners and religious leaders in the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion demonstrates the fulfillment of God's plan and the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of sinners. The arrest and crucifixion of Jesus were necessary steps in the fulfillment of God's plan for salvation.

Highlighting how their actions relate to Jesus' plea in Matthew 26:39

The writer’s and others’ actions resonate with Jesus' plea in Matthew 26:39 by exemplifying an attitude of submission and a sincere desire to seek God's will in prayer. The writer realized the importance of praying after God's heart, rather than making demands or having extravagant desires. This understanding was shaped by Jesus' submissive prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. The writer understood that true prayer involves surrendering one's will to seek God's will, just as Jesus demonstrated in his plea. This realization led the writer to approach prayer with humility and a genuine desire to align their desires with God's purpose. Overall, the writer's experience and understanding of true prayer reflect the themes of submission, seeking God's will, and the example set by Jesus' plea in Matthew 26:39.

Comparison with Other Biblical Passages

In Matthew 26:39, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, asking God if it is possible for the cup of suffering to pass from him, yet ultimately surrenders to God's will. This passage illustrates sacrifice, surrender, and obedience to God's plan. To deepen our understanding of this message, we can compare it with other related biblical passages, such as Philippians 2:5-8, where Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, and Hebrews 5:8, which emphasizes how Jesus learned obedience through suffering. These passages highlight the interconnected themes of humility, obedience, and suffering in carrying out God's will. Despite differences in context and wording, the overarching message remains consistent: Jesus sets an example of surrendering to God's will, even in times of great difficulty and suffering. By comparing these passages, we gain a deeper insight into the importance of obedience and humility in fulfilling God's purpose, and the transformative power of surrendering to His plan.

Drawing parallels between Matthew 26:39 and Luke 22:43, Mark 14:35, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42, etc.

The prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is described similarly in Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:43, Mark 14:35, Mark 14:36, and Luke 22:42, showcasing parallels between these passages. In all these verses, Jesus prays to God, asking for His will to be done and expressing his inner turmoil and distress. The wording and context of the prayers are very similar, as they all depict Jesus grappling with the impending sacrifice he is about to make.

The significance of Jesus' prayer in these passages lies in the portrayal of his humanity and his willingness to submit to the Father's will, even in the face of immense suffering. Despite their similarities, slight differences in wording and context can be observed across these verses. For example, in Mark 14:36, Jesus addresses God as "Abba, Father," In Matthew 26:39 and Luke 22:42, he says, "My Father." These variations offer insight into the individual perspectives of the Gospel writers and the specific emphasis they sought to convey.

The parallels between Matthew 26:39 and the related verses highlight the universality and enduring significance of Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane as a symbol of unwavering faith and surrender to God's divine plan.

Evening Prayer and Gethsemane

The evening prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane holds immense significance in the Christian faith. Gethsemane, located at the foot of the Mount of Olives, was a quiet and peaceful place where Jesus went to pray before his imminent crucifixion. Here, Jesus experienced intense emotional distress as he grappled with the weight of the spiritual and physical horrors awaiting him at the cross.

The purpose of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane was to seek strength and guidance from God as He faced his impending suffering. The intensity of his prayer is evident as he fervently pleaded with God, expressing his despair and agony. This contrasts his demeanor in the Upper Room, where he shared a final meal with his disciples.

The evening prayer in Gethsemane highlights Jesus' human vulnerability and willingness to undergo immense suffering for the redemption of humanity. It is a powerful example of faith, trust, and submission to God's will, even amid unimaginable anguish. This moment reflects the depth of Jesus' love and sacrifice, making it a profound and poignant event in the Christian faith.


In Jesus' prayer to the Father to let the cup pass, we see evidence of his humanity as he expresses his natural desire to avoid suffering and death. This act of vulnerability and surrender to the Father's will demonstrates Jesus' fully human response to the impending crucifixion.

Simultaneously, his prayer reflects his deity as he ultimately submits to the divine plan for the salvation of humanity. This exemplifies the perfect harmony of Jesus' dual nature as fully God and man, as he experiences the depth of human emotions while maintaining his divine purpose.

Furthermore, the significance of Christ's prayer is emphasized in Romans 1:4, which states that Jesus "was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead." This verse highlights the importance of the resurrection as confirmation of Jesus' divinity, solidifying his dual nature.

In conclusion, Jesus' prayer to the Father to let the cup pass is a profound demonstration of his humanity and deity, and the resurrection reaffirms the significance of his dual nature.


Matthew 20:22

Luke 22:42

John 1:29

Matthew 6:10

Luke 22:44

Frequently asked questions

What is the significance of the cup of suffering in Matthew 26:39?

  • Matthew 26:39 reveals the profound significance of the cup of suffering.
  • In his prayer in Gethsemane, Jesus expresses his humanity, asking God if there is any other way.
  • The cup symbolizes the weight of sin and the cost of redemption that Jesus was willing to pay.
  • It represents the immense pain and sacrifice that Jesus endured for the salvation of humanity.
  • Jesus' willingness to drink from this cup demonstrates his ultimate obedience and love for us.

Why did Jesus pray three times in the Garden of Gethsemane?

  • Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane to demonstrate his deep struggle with accepting God's will.
  • He prayed three times to show the intensity of his emotions in the moment.
  • Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane reminds us of the power of honest and persistent prayer in times of difficulty.
  • It also reveals his human side, as he grappled with the weight of the suffering he was about to experience.
  • Jesus' threefold prayer is a powerful reminder of the importance of prayer in our own lives.

Did Jesus know that his suffering was necessary for the salvation of humanity?

  • Jesus knew that his suffering and sacrifice was necessary for our salvation.
  • He willingly accepted God's will, despite the agony that awaited him.
  • His willingness to bear the burden of our salvation exemplifies true faith and trust in God.
  • By surrendering to God's will, Jesus teaches us to seek strength even in our suffering.
  • In his example, Jesus shows us the power of faith and trust in God's plan.

How does Jesus' prayer in Matthew 26:39 teach believers about the importance of humility?

Jesus' prayer in Matthew 26:39 teaches believers about the importance of humility:

  • Through repeated prayer, Jesus exemplifies the importance of humbly surrendering to God's will.
  • He acknowledges that only God knows the divine knowledge and complexities of prayer and God's will.
  • This reminds us to stay humble and depend on God, understanding that some prayers may not align with our desires.
  • Jesus' humility lesson encourages us to accept and embrace suffering as part of God's ultimate plan.
  • His prayer reminds us to always remain humble and trust the Lord.

Is it possible for believers' prayers to conflict with God's will?

Prayer and surrender to God's will can be difficult, but believers must understand the potential for prayer to conflict with God's will. Here are five key points to remember:

  1. Divine guidance and surrender are essential when praying.
  2. Aligning our prayers with God's will strengthens our trust in Him.
  3. God's will is perfect and His ways are higher than ours.
  4. Surrendering to God's plan brings peace and assurance.
  5. Prayer and surrender go hand in hand.

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