And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
Why was the prospect of the cross so agonizing to Jesus? He who had set His face to go to Jerusalem. He who knew His fate in this world and His purpose for coming. He who could foresee the glorious outcome of His death and resurrection. Perhaps it was because He was God in flesh, meaning He was fully God but also fully man. The cross would be an agonizing experience, both physically and mentally. It would involve much pain and humiliation and then that unthinkable moment when the Father would turn away and forsake Him.
So in this moment, Jesus seeks the solace of His friends, though they fail Him. He seeks assurance from His Father that there really is no other way, basically crying out, “Take this cup if possible; it seems too much to bear.” He seeks for Peter, but he is sleeping, unaware of Jesus’ distress and the impending challenge he will soon face himself. But ultimately, He seeks the Father’s will, knowing fully all that that would require of Him, and perhaps it is only the God part of Him that could bear up under that at all.
The flesh is weak, and surely our own lives bear out this truth. We face it in the limitations and decline of our physical bodies. We face it in our weakness against temptation and sin. We face it in times of confusion when the things happening to us and around us don’t make any sense. We face it in those very real moments of great sorrow and agony, when we get overburdened by the things of this life. We face it when we, like Peter, fail to pray and fail to recognize the pride and weakness within ourselves.
The only cure for the weakness of flesh is the strength of God. To cry out “Abba, Father.” To seek His face and His will. To rest in Him. To look to Him. To rely on Him. He has within Himself all that we do not in our weakness of flesh.