First of all, Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 which begins with, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Jesus quoted this Psalm in order to draw attention to it and the fact that He was fulfilling it there on the cross. Consider verses 11-18 in Psalm 22:
“Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help. Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.
Jesus is The Word, Amen. Knowing exactly what would happen He prayed in anguish that the cup He was about to drink from was filled, overflowing with anguish, shame, pain…The gospels contain an account of the time the disciples and Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before Jesus was arrested. In the garden Jesus prayed to his Father three times, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will”—the KJV says, “Let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39). A little later, Jesus prays, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done” (Matthew 26:42). These prayers reveal Jesus’ mindset just before the crucifixion and His total submission to the will of God.
The “cup” to which Jesus refers is the suffering He was about to endure. It’s as if Jesus were being handed a cup full of bitterness with the expectation that He drink all of it. Jesus had used the same metaphor in Matthew 20:22 when prophesying of the future suffering of James and John. When Jesus petitions the Father, “Let this cup pass from me,” He expresses the natural human desire to avoid pain and suffering.
Jesus is fully God, but He is also fully human. His human nature, though perfect, still struggled with the need to accept the torture and shame that awaited Him; His flesh recoiled from the cross. In the same context, Jesus says to His disciples, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mathew 26:41). In praying, “Let this cup pass from me,” Jesus was battling the flesh and its desire for self-preservation and comfort. The struggle was intense: Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38), and Luke the physician observed that Jesus was sweating blood—a sign of extreme anguish (Luke 22:44). If anything shows that Jesus was indeed fully man, this prayer is it.