By Patrick Hawthorne
41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44 NKJV)
Emanuel…God with us. Such an insignificant offering we bring to our God in comparison to the price He paid for us that dark day He allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross. We read of His great love. Yet, are we truly able to comprehend the depth, the length, the height of this great love for all of humanity? With certainty I am able to say, “We cannot.”
Yes, we try to understand. With feeble attempts we surmise, deduce, and grasp at an understanding of the level of the agony He suffered on our behalf. Yet, these attempts are indeed feeble at best.
Did our Lord Jesus suffer greatly upon the cross? To that there is no doubt. However, was His physical pain any greater than that of many others? I assert that it was not. Of truth, many have died in a more cruel and gruesome manner than did Jesus. Therefore to suppose, as some do, that Jesus was begging the Father to let the cup of His upcoming physical suffering pass from Him is to assume that Jesus was not willing to go through the same penalty that He told some of His disciples they would have to endure. No, I don’t believe it was the physical pain that greatly distressed our Lord and Savior. So, what was it?
My personal speculation is that what Jesus so dreaded was not physical pain but was the substance contained in the cup that He was about to drink. It was the cup of God’s wrath in a fully concentrated, non-diluted form. Jesus was about to receive in His body the totality of which no man has ever had to endure. “And He who knew no sin made Him to become sin for us,” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus surrendered to the love of the Father by bearing the cup of wrath that was reserved for us.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You 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 53:10 NKJV)
Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us. What pleased our Heavenly Father was not the suffering that Jesus would have to endure but the lives that would be set free because of His suffering. The next time that you are tempted to think, “God cannot possibly love me,” think about the price He paid so that He could call you His son or His daughter. Think about the price He paid so that He could say, “I’m not angry with you.” As the old hymn so eloquently speaks, “Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.” Be blessed.