If Jesus is God, why did He ask the Father to let this cup pass?
A common question that people ask is, “Why did Jesus pray to God the Father?” Therefore, it is not surprising that this question is also asked, “If Jesus is God, why did He ask the Father to let this cup pass?”Or, we could reword the question as, “If Jesus is God, why did He pray to the Father to let this cup pass?” What follows answers all three questions.
God Hides Himself
Most people are captivated by mysteries, the unusual, the odd, and the unknown. That is why mystery novels, science fiction, the occult, and videos about the unknown are so very popular. But when God becomes the topic, some people avoid this mystery. A few people adamantly claim they know God does not exist, even though they have not traveled the universe to find God. Did they fail to think about the possibility that God cannot be seen? Deuteronomy 29:29 says
The secret things belong to the LORD our God . . . Deuteronomy 29:29 (NASB)
Also, Isaiah 45:15 surprises us when we are told that God hides Himself from us.
Truly, You are a God who hides Himself . . .Isaiah 45:15 (NASB)
This means that we cannot learn about God by seeing or talking with Him. It is not possible to objectively claim that God does not exist. But why does God hide Himself? The answer is that if anyone did see God, they would not be alive to tell anyone.
You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” Exodus 33:20
This means that we cannot fully understand our God.
The Bible teaches that God is a trinity. God is simultaneously the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This mystery is known only to God Himself — the One we cannot see. Part of this mystery is that Christ Himself revealed He is God, and the Jewish leaders understood His claim. They said this in John 10:33. The verse says,
The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” John 10:33 (NASB)
The message of the Bible is that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:6; James 2:19). Yet, God is three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They are God. Now that is a mystery.
Why Did Jesus Pray to God the Father?
Now if Jesus was God, why did He pray to God? The key that unlocks the door to understanding why Jesus prayed to God the Father is that Jesus Christ was both a man and God. Jesus was God, and He was also a man. Romans 1:3-4 states,
. . . concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead . . . Romans 1:3-4 (NASB)
Philippians 2:6-8 states the same truth. Christ existed as God and a man at the same time throughout the time He lived among us. Hebrews 2:9-14 also communicates the same truth. Christ was made lower than the angels so that His body could die. Hebrews 2:14 says that He had a body of flesh and blood. But His spirit did not die, because God cannot die.
As He lived among us, He experienced life as any human would. He ate food, drank liquids, slept, became tired, and His body of flesh and blood died. Christ learned what it was like to live as human. He did what humans did, except He never sinned. Now we must ask, “Why did Jesus pray to God the Father?” The answer is that He prayed like any human prays. He experienced prayer just as humans do. That is, Christ, the Son, talked with God the Father just as we humans talk with God. It is clear from Scripture that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit communicate with each other (Genesis 1:26). God was there at the baptism of Christ (Matthew 3:16-17). It is a mystery how God is one, yet He communicates with the other persons of the Trinity.
Why did Jesus pray? Because He was also a man. Just as other men pray to God, Jesus prayed to God also!
Why Did Jesus Ask the Father to Let This Cup Pass?
Now, why did Jesus ask the Father to let this cup pass? That is what He did according to Matthew 26:39.
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 (NASB)
It appears that as a man, He was thinking about the pain He was about to experience: the tortures and the excruciating pain of dying on a cross. But we must not forget that He submitted to the will of God the Father. He had come to die on the cross for our sins, and so He did.
If Jesus is God why did He pray to the Father to let this cup pass? He prayed because that is how men communicate with God. If Christ had not prayed, then He would not have been a real human. The fact that He asked the Father to let this cup pass is another proof that He was a real man. When He died on the cross, His body died. But then when He returned to life, the resurrection proved He was God (Romans 1:4).
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