Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV)
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
Jesus journeyed into the deepest pit of despair hours before His crucifixion. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He repeatedly prayed for “the cup” to pass from Him. Christ was staring into a chalice of wrath and judgement that must have made His soul recoil.
17 Awake, awake!
Rise up, Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord
the cup of his wrath,
you who have drained to its dregs
the goblet that makes people stagger.
Mankind had filled that cup with the most depraved deeds and thoughts that they could conceive. According to Scripture, Jesus Christ did not just die for our sin; He became our sin.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The holy, perfect Lamb of God took upon Himself all that was vile and dark within each of us.
Jesus knew the consequences of taking on Mankind’s evil. God’s holiness prevented Him from being in the presence of sin. Therefore, the heavenly Father would have to separate Himself from the Son. Jesus had always enjoyed perfect oneness with God. To contemplate a wrenching rejection must have been terrifying and heartbreaking.
There was no question that Jesus would obey the will of God. He would become sin and be separated from the Father, if that’s what was required to save mankind. So, yes, in the garden, He pleaded for another route to our redemption. However, when it was clear that the Father’s answer was, No, this is the only way, Jesus obediently sacrificed Himself for us.
Jesus Christ sacrificed more than His life. He exchanged perfection for wickedness and holy union for separation. The Savior did this so we could be transformed into righteous men and women with an eternal future.
No wonder all of heaven exalts Him.
Revelation 5:11-14 (NIV)
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
We should do the same.
When you stop and think about the enormity of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, it really should bring a tear to our eyes. It is a level of love that we will never find anywhere else.