Jesus was distressed? Really?
But that doesn’t make sense. Jesus could have called on a host of angels at any moment to minister to Him. All hell trembles at the whisper of His name. How could Jesus be distressed?
The following verses indicate Jesus was in anguish about something.
37And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Jesus is so concerned about what’s going to take place. He pleads with His disciples to stay awake, watch and pray.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
Jesus is in such agony that He pleads with the Father . . . Is there some other way?
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
You can hear the desperation in His plea . . . Father, save me from this hour!
Why would the soul of the guiltless, sinless Son of God be so troubled? Why was Jesus so distressed?
Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane about to be betrayed and given over to the Roman authorities. He would face public humiliation and ridicule to its fullest extent. Jesus would be brutally tortured and die a cruel death on a cross, condemned by the people he loved so much.
Was it man’s rejection that caused Jesus such anguish?
This was nothing new. From the very start, in the Garden of Eden, man had been rejecting God. It was no different when Jesus came to the earth. Jesus was born into a world of rejection. As a baby, Herod sought to kill him. Later on He would be rejected by society: especially the intellectuals, the leaders of the law, the religious leaders, and even His own family. Anyone who so much as even spoke the name of Jesus would be thrown out of the synagogue. Jesus told His disciples “. . . [the world] hated me without a cause” (John 15:25). Yet Jesus never expressed despair over man’s rejection. Why would He start now?
Was it a fear or dread of the suffering and death that He was about to experience?
Jesus healed and delivered many people from torment, sickness, and disease. Why would he be afraid of suffering? This same Jesus had raised people from the dead. He stood outside of the tomb of Lazarus and commanded death to let go. Even after 4 days in the grave, Lazarus came forth alive and well. How could Jesus, who had already defied death, be terrified of it? It doesn’t make sense to believe Jesus was concerned about physical suffering and death.
Was it an impending attack of satan that led Jesus to such agony?
Satan was an adversary, but not one Jesus hadn’t already encountered. Approximately, three years earlier, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Jesus faced His enemy without so much as a flinch. Later Jesus would cast out and command legions of demons to flee. Jesus merely whispered the Word and satan buckled. Jesus knows who the devil is and what he’s made of. Jesus was there and witnessed the day when satan was cast out of heaven. I don’t think Jesus was at all concerned about any attack the devil might launch against Him.
Jesus had demonstrated His authority . . . healing all manner of sickness and disease, conquering death, and even commanding the winds and waves. Every demon and the devil himself trembled at the mention of the name—Jesus!
So why was the Son of God so distressed?
I submit to you that the cause of such grief and anguish experienced by Jesus was much more severe than any of these mentioned . . . more severe than any human will ever face.
God’s word reveals the very source of what was breaking the heart of Jesus.
6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Isaiah 53:6, 10 (Emphasis Mine)
Jesus was in such turmoil because He was about to assume a new and terrible position!
For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (Emphasis Mine)
Jesus was about to become someone totally out of His character—a sinner! Jesus would take on the very thing He despised—sin! God placed my sins, your sins, and the sins of all humanity on the charge of Jesus Christ.
Jesus agonized because He knew He was about to stand before His Holy Father as a vile, sinful creature. Jesus, the One who longed to please His Father, would become the epitome of disobedience.
Jesus, the guiltless, sinless one, would become the epicenter for all of Heaven’s wrath and vengeance. He who knew no sin would bear all the punishment and blame for our sin! As if this wasn’t enough for Jesus to bear, Isaiah 53:10 tells us it pleased God, the Father, to bruise His Own Son. God the Father took pleasure in the Son’s suffering!
If God is love, how could He be pleased with Jesus’ suffering?
The law demanded a sacrifice for sin. God, in love and mercy, gave Jesus to be the spotless lamb sacrificed for our sin. John the Baptist saw Jesus coming and said “. . . Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
So what does all this have to do with me?
Jesus suffered and died for me so the least I can do is surrender and live for Him. I think all Christians will agree Jesus is our perfect example. We would do well to follow closely in His footsteps. Whatever makes Jesus happy should make us happy. If there is anything that grieves His heart, it should hurt us as well.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was in such agony because He knew the consequences of sin! By becoming sin for us, Jesus would be separated from the Father.
Does it sicken you when your sin and disobedience create a divide between you and God, the Father?
Maybe you’re thinking . . . I’m not living in sin. I don’t have any “bad” sinful habits.
Sin is sin! Whether it’s just a little bit or a whole lot . . . whether it’s acted out or just in your thoughts, sin is still sin. Any amount of sin and disobedience can keep us from the Lord.
We are all human! Each and every one of us have sinned, and no matter how close we get to Jesus, we will still have the potential to sin. God knew we would make mistakes and stumble. We aren’t perfect! Before Christ we had no hope, but now we can come to the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ.
But this liberty shouldn’t be taken for granted. When God convicts your heart of sin, it should be dealt with right away. Don’t play games or flirt with sin! Like Jesus, anything that comes between you and the heavenly Father should painfully grieve your spirit.
Oh God search my heart today! If there is anything in my life that displeases you . . . even in my thoughts and motives, if anything displeases you Lord, reveal it to me. Put it under the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary. I don’t want anything to ever come between me and my God. Like Jesus, I want nothing more than to please my Heavenly Father. Is that your desire today?
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