Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Cross of Christ Pt. 1 - Christ's Agony in the Garden

Luke 22:39-46 says, "And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, 'Pray that you may not enter into temptation.' And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, 'Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.' And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, 'Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.'"

Everytime I read this passage, I get goosebumps and start trembling. I think I know why though. One reason this passage always gets to me is Jesus' complete obedience to the Father. Jesus, at the most stressful time of his life, foresees the cup of wrath that he is about to endure for our sins and repeatedly asks the Father to remove the cup from him. Jesus then repeatedly adds, not my will, but yours be done. Complete total obedience. He realizes that his Father has a plan, even though it is not the plan that he wants to experience.
At this time, Jesus, in extreme agony, is staring down the Father's cup of wrath and he staggers to the ground. Isaiah 51:17 shows us that the cup of God's wrath is the cup of staggering to those who drink from it. No wonder Jesus stumbles to the ground in deep distress. This cup of wrath is a detestable drink and those who look into it stagger to the ground. He also begins sweating great drops of blood-- a condition known as hematidrosis. We will talk more about hematidrosis in the physical aspect of Christ's suffering, but now, we see the Lamb of God continuing to pray the same prayer to His Father. Silence. Please remove this cup from me.

Here comes the second, last, and main reason of why this passage gets to me:

Jesus saw Hell opened up to Him rather than Heaven. Jesus' only thought at this time is the complete agony of being abandoned by His Father. He had perfect communion with the Father for all of eternity past and then this. In absolute terror, he continues to ask God to remove the cup from Him. Jesus had every right to throw the cup right back in our faces shouting: "This is your cup. You drink it. I am not responsible for this. It is your problem. You deal with it." But instead, with a shaking whisper, he says, "Not my will Lord, but yours be done." He comes to us, mucked up in our own sinfulness and utter helplessness, reaching out his hand to pull us out from the mires of sin. Amazing! Worthy is the Lamb and praise Him for everything that he has done for us. I will close with this:

Listen to this verse again for the very first time: For God so loved the world...that He is silent to His Son's agonizing appeal.
This is what bearing our sin means to Him-- utter distress of soul as He confronts total abandonment and absolute wrath from His Father on the cross, a distress and an abandonment and a rejection we cannot begin to grasp.
In this, our Savior's darkest you recognize His love for you?
C.J. Mahaney's The Cross Centered Life pg.81


Josh said...

A very thought provoking post, so beautifully written. How much Jesus must love us! I cannot even fathom the submittion He had to His father.

'becca said...

This gives me alot to think about. Thanks for putting your knowledge out for others to read. I look forward to reading what else you have to say.

Rachel said...

The song that comes to my mind when I finished reading this great post is "Amazing Love" by Phillips, Craig, and Dean.

Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King would die for me. (some of the words from the song).

Thank you for posting this.

Joshua said...

I also can't even begin to fathom it either. The submission that Christ had to His Father is beyond any human being's comprehension. He obeyed the Father because he realized the joy of bringing home the elect back to His Father (Hebrews 12:3), even though he endured terrible pain and suffering to get there. For God so loved the world that he crushed His Son for us. John 3:16 and Isaiah 53:10. You are right on target Josh. I totally agree with everything that you said. Thanks for the comment. :)

Joshua said...

Thanks for hopping on board my blog. God's Word, in itself, makes me think as hard as I do. I love it and I will continue to proclaim it for the rest of my days on this earth to the glory of his name. So long. :)

Joshua said...

I totally agree. That is an excellent song and it fits perfectly with this post. Thanks for the feedback. :)