Origen: He took with Him the self-confident Peter, and the others, that they might see Him falling on His face and praying, and might learn not to think great things, but little things of themselves, and not to be hasty in promising, but careful in prayer. And therefore, He went forward a little, not to go far from them, but that He might be near them in His prayer.It seems, all agree that Christ speaks of His human will, and also as an example to us.
Also, He who had said above, Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, now commendably humbling Himself, falls on His face. But He shews His devotion in His prayer, and as beloved and well-pleasing to His Father, He adds, Not as I will, but as thou wilt, teaching us that we should pray, not that our own will, but that Gods will, should be done.
And as He began to have fear and sorrow, He prays accordingly that the cup of His Passion may pass from Him, yet not as He wills, but as His Father wills; wills, that is, not according to His Divine and impassible Substance, but according to His human and weak nature. For in taking upon Him the nature of human flesh, He fulfilled all the properties thereof, that it might be seen that He had flesh not in appearance only, but in reality.
The believer indeed must in the first instance be loth to incur pain, seeing it leads to death, and he is a man of flesh; but if it be Gods will, he acquiesces because he is a believer. For as we ought not to be too confident that we may not seem to make a boast of our own strength; so neither ought we to be distrustful, lest we should seem to charge God our helper with weakness.
It is to be observed that Mark and Luke write the same, but John does not introduce this prayer of Jesus, that this cup may pass from Him, because the first three are rather occupied about Him, according to His human nature, John according to His divine.
Otherwise; Jesus makes this petition, because He sees what the Jews will suffer for requiring His death.
Jerome: Whence He says emphatically, This cup, that is, of this people of the Jews, who, if they shall put Me to death, can have no excuse for their ignorance, seeing they have the Law and the Prophets,910 who speak of Me.
Origen: Then again considering the benefit that would accrue to the whole world from His Passion, He says, But not as I will, but as thou wilt; i.e. If it be possible for all these benefits which shall result from My Passion to be procured without it, let it pass from Me, and both the world be saved, and the Jews not be condemned in putting Me to death.
But if the salvation of many cannot be procured without the destruction of a few, saving Thy justice, let it not pass away. Scripture, in many places, speaks of passion as a cup that is drained; and it is drained by him, who in testimony suffers whatever is inflicted upon him. He sheds it, on the contrary, who denies in order to avoid suffering.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 4: And that none might think that He limited His Fathers power, He said not, If thou canst do it, but If it may be, or, If it be possible; as much as to say, If thou wilt. For whatever God wills can be done, as Luke expresses more plainly; for he says not, If it be possible, but If thou wilt.
Hilary: Otherwise; He says not, Let this cup pass away from Me, for that would be the speech of one who feared it; but He prays that it may pass not so as that He should be passed over, but that when it has passed from Him, it may go to another. His whole fear then is for those who were to suffer, and therefore He prays for those who were to suffer after Him, saying, Let this cup pass from me, i.e. as it is drunk by Me, so let it be drunk by these, without mistrust, without sense of pain, without fear of death. He says, If it be possible, because flesh and blood shrink from these things, and it is hard for human bodies not to sink beneath their infliction. That He says, Not as I will, but as thou wilt, He would fain indeed that they should not suffer, lest their faith should fail in their sufferings, if indeed we might attain to the glory of our joint inheritance with Him without the hardship of sharing in His Passion.
He says, Not as I will, but as thou wilt, because it is the Fathers will that strength to drink of the cup should pass from Him to them, that the Devil might be vanquished not so much by Christ as by His disciples also.
Aug., in Ps. 32, enar. 2: Christ thus as man shews a certain private human will, in which He who is our head figures both His own will and ours when He says, Let it pass from me. For this was His human will911 choosing something as apart for Himself. But because as man He would be righteous and guide Himself by Gods will, He adds, Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt; as much as to say to us, Man, behold thyself in Me, that thou canst will somewhat apart of thyself, and though Gods will is other, this is permitted to human frailty.
Leo, Serm., 58, 5: This speech of the Head is the health of the whole body, this saying is instruction to the faithful, animates the confessor, crowns the martyr. For who could vanquish the hatred of the world, or the whirlwind of temptations, or the terrors of the persecutors, if Christ did not in all and for all say to the Father, Thy will be done.
Let all the sons of the Church then utter this prayer, that when the pressure of some mighty temptation lies upon them, they may embrace endurance of the suffering, disregarding its terrors.
Yes, I fully agree. Thank you for these passages.