The late Dallas Willard, a philosopher at University of Southern California and a trained reader of the Greek New Testament, once spoke to an audience about what we encounter in today's reading of Matthew.
When you read this gospel, do you see this? Here's what Dr. Willard said:
When Jesus was in the garden, many people present that as a time when he was cringing in the garden out of fear. I just invite you to rethink that story. There may be another way of reading it. Uh, Hebrews 5:7 has this to say,
"in the days of his flesh, he offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to one able to save him from death, and was heard because of his obedience."
Apparently because of that perception Jesus's prayer was answered in the garden. It will follow that if that's true he was not praying to avoid the cross. In fact his ambition was to reach the cross. The garden I suggest to you was Satan's last chance to stop him and kill him in a corner and not allow him to triumphantly ascend on the cross to the exultation in human history that he carefully planned with his father. He was not cringing. He was fighting. And he made it to the cross. And he endured the cross despising the shame. And has sat down at the right hand of God. See that goes with the kenosis passage. He laid aside his glory. He took human form, the form of a servant, and became obedient under the death of the cross. But you see that was a glorious reality. That was not a defeat because it was lived in the presence and power of God. Jesus was not avoiding the cross. He was joyfully embracing it.
We want to follow him in that same way you see. We want to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us. We want to lay it aside why? Because of the richness of our fellowship with Jesus Christ. There is nothing that takes the place of that. There is nothing that can possibly compete with it.