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“And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’”
The little party left the upper room and made their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. The disciples were in a state of gloom. Their Master had made it clear that He was coming to the end of His time here and would shortly be going back to His Father. But their disquiet was as nothing compared to the feelings in the mind of the Lord. We see this in the verses above where He spoke about being overcome with sorrow to such an extent that it would crush Him and cause His death. Why was this the case?
As we have noted, at this stage of the story we are approaching the very centre of God’s eternal plan. The cross was looming into ever sharper focus. Indeed it was less than 24 hours away and so the Saviour was facing the cost that He alone could pay for sins to be forgiven and reconciliation effected between the thrice holy God and sinful, fallen, rebellious, alienated human beings. The events of the following day would mean the gates of heaven being unlocked for millions – an escape from the horrors of hell for all who would come to the Saviour and believe in Him.
But the Lord was going to have to pay such an unimaginable price for this to be the case. He knew about the trials He was facing and the injustice of what would transpire. He knew about the mocking and scoffing. He was aware of the scourging. He could foresee being nailed to the cross and the dreaded pain as the cross was lifted into an upright position. He knew there was no way down from the cross until He was dead.
But the major part of the Lord’s distress was not to do with the physical pain and suffering. He was also anticipating the fact that He was going to be made sin for us, (2 Corinthians 5:21), that the Father was going to lay upon Him the iniquity of us all, (Isaiah 53:6), and that He, the sinless One, would bear the entire load of our sins in His body on the tree, (1 Peter 2:24), and that He would be making on sacrifice for sins for ever.
Is it any wonder that he cried out in the most intense agony, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;.” Is it any wonder that His sweat was like drops of blood, (Luke 22:44)? Is it any wonder that an angel was despatched from heaven to minister to Him, (Luke 22:43)? The powers of darkness were doing their worst. Would the Saviour choose the easy path and avoid the cross. No way! His agonised prayer concluded, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” THE DIE WAS CAST!