“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's" [Matthew 16:21-23].
Was Jesus just now beginning to tell the apostles that he would be murdered and raised on the third day? It appears to be so for he says “from that time.” It also appears to be so because it was Jesus who “began” to show the things that were about to happen. Why did he wait till almost the end of three and one-half years of his personal ministry to tell the apostles the most important theme of his lifetime?
Did Jesus have a choice? What did he mean when he asked his father …
“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will" [Matt 26:39-40]?
All that we have to do is to read a little further. Did not Jesus tell his apostles that he “must” go to Jerusalem and be murdered? Well, Jesus knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he “had” to be killed. So, what does it mean? What was “this cup” that he had to endure? It is obvious enough if we will but study it carefully. He had to “become sin” for mankind, even though he did no sin himself.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” [Hebrews 4:15-16].
“Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God” [K.J.V. - Romans 6:9-10].
Does this verse teach that Jesus “died unto sin once?” Does this mean that he died for the “sins of the world once” or that he died for his own sins? I think that you know the answer to that. What does the following verse mean?
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” [2 Corinthians 5:21].
Does that mean that even though Jesus did no sin that God caused him to take on (“become sin”) the entire world for their sins? Obviously it does. That was “the cup” of the sinful world that he wished that he could avoid. Could he do it? This he “must” do!