A Christian cannot be unmoved when contemplating the scene presented in Gethsemane. Here we behold our beloved Lord Jesus in an agony so intense that His sweat became great drops of blood falling to the ground. The sight truly fills us with sorrow, but we are also cheered by it.
How can the Lord who bid the tempest be calm, cast out devils, and raised the dead be this same Jesus lying face down, praying with strong crying and tears? It is because He is fully aware of the contents in the cup His Father placed before Him. To drink of this cup meant He must endure the very wrath of God for the iniquity of us all.
There are many people who speak lightly about damnation, and even joke about going to hell. It was no joking matter for Jesus. He understood completely what it meant to be damned and cut off from His Father. The very thought of it filled Him with horror!
The sinless Son of Man was about to suffer as if He were the only one responsible for every sin. The reality of this is more than we can comprehend and more than we could bear. But Jesus knew. That is why He was bowed to the ground and why His sweat turned to blood.
Paradise Is Open!
Jesus was seeking the joy that would come from gathering together sinners like us to dwell forever with Him in Paradise. That meant He had to confront and overcome the problem of our sin. As long as any sin remained connected to us, we were banned from Paradise.
Jesus came to redeem us from the curse we deserved by suffering the curse instead of us. Was there any other way He could deliver us? From what we see and hear at Gethsemane, it was clear that there was not.
So, when we behold Jesus in Gethsemane, we are filled with sorrow because we know that we are the cause of His agony. If it were not for our sin, there would have been no need for Jesus to be there.
If we ever think that our sins are not too many or not too serious, we need but consider the impact they had on Jesus even as He prepared to pay the price for them. His sorrow fills us with sorrow. Within us a sharper awareness of our guilt and culpability is increased.
It is amazing, but true, that the very same scene also cheers us. How? Because Jesus rose up from His prayer and went forward to do the will of His Father.
Never would Jesus have considered doing otherwise. He was determined to do whatever was necessary to redeem sinners. For this to happen, it was required for the Just One to die for the unjust ones.
Though drinking the bitter, burning contents of the cup was no pleasant prospect for Jesus, He drank it anyway, down to its last deadly drop. For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross and despised the shame (Heb. 12:2).
Having eliminated that which barred us from His Home, Jesus has flung wide the gates of Paradise and announced: “Welcome home!”
His sorrow turned into joy . . . and so has ours!
–Pastor Delwyn Maas