Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
The end is drawing closer, and here we see the humanity of Jesus painfully become clearer. He is confronted with the knowledge of what events are to rapidly transpire and the human side of his nature begins to be scared. He falls to the ground and prays that if possible, this cup might pass from him.
It’s not a fear of death that worries him, but a fear of how this death is to come about – taking on the sins of the entire world. When I think about just my own sins and what I am responsible for, that is an incredible amount of suffering to take on. But to take on the sins of all humanity – all who have or ever will live – is staggering to try and comprehend. The Population Reference Bureau estimates that as many as 106,456,367,669 people have lived on earth so far (in 2002 when the article was written). That’s 106 billion – and not including those who have and will be born since that time. And Jesus took on the sin of each and every one of them.
Look at it this way:
- Jesus took on the sins of the world. If we say a person sins 4 times a day (extremely conservative, but it’s for demonstration purposes) They will commit 1,460 sins in one year.
- If we say that the average person lives to 60 (we’re looking at the whole scope of history and there were many points in history where 30 was old). That person will have 87,600 sins in their lifetime.
- Now using the population number from above, that could be 9,325,577,807,804,400 sins (That’s 9 quadrillion, or 9000 trillion sins). Are remember, that’s assuming 4 sins per day and I know for a fact that I son way more times than that. That number is so astronomical that it’s hard to imagine a quantity that large, let alone the idea of taking on that many sins.
It puts the coming sacrifice and his present pain in the Garden of Gethsemane into perspective. Taking on the sins of the world would also taking on the corresponding punishment for those sins. It’s a prospect that made even our Lord worried.