Heard some sermons along the line of Jesus facing the agony an anguish of condemnation and forsaking of him by the Father before the dark hour of crucifixion, Jesus went to pray and sweated blood while his disciples were fast asleep.
A moving and extremely touching narrative when the Son of God himself struggled to such anguish before the Cross
It was a moving and extremely touching narrative when the Son of God himself struggled to such anguish, quite powerfully demonstrating his humanity. However, I have heard enough sermons while preachers push the narrative of Christ’s mortal sufferings and his willingness to sacrifice himself, and even Jonathan Edwards had peached powerfully on Jesus viewing and looking down at the fiery furnace that awaits him and that shock and total darkness shook Jesus up and that such heaviness of darkness descended upon him, made him cried out to God his Father to spare him of the cup. The impression I got from such sermons is that its almost an end of the narrative of Jesus going to the cross that he struggled to such intensity that he sweated blood, and with that they exhort the audience how much Christ had suffered and willing to stare down the inferno of hell and willingly to suck it up for the sake of saving humanity and being obedient to the Father. I beg to differ here, as I think thats insufficient to stop there and I will explain below.
Jesus knew all the time from eternity that he would be sacrificed
Jesus knew all the time from eternity that he would be sacrificed as an atonement lamb of God to save mankind, but why does he struggle with such anguish with blood just before hours before the arrest by the Roman soldiers? Preachers have correctly pointed out that it’s not the death that punched him in the gut, but it’s the darkness and separation forsakenness that will happen on the cross that shook him up!
Its Jesus full Humanity that Cried out with Such Intensity before the Cross
I would argue its Jesus’s humanity that cried out for help and even shaken to the core that he was trying to bypass the cross? Isn’t that full humanity? Isn’t that what it means he has been tempted in all ways like us, and yet without sin? Isn’t that the absolute finality concrete way of Jesus passing the test before the biggest act of all humanity in all human history or even cosmic history? That single act on the cross, changed and saved mankind and even the entire cosmos forever. And that’s how big that is. Isn’t that a very illustrating point of the struggle of Jesus that we can all identify with?
Preaching so deep into the anguish and struggles of Christ to demonstrate the amazing love Christ has for us, does not do justice to the whole text.
But the real point here is I would argue that to preach a sermon that dwells so deep into the anguish and struggles of Christ to demonstrate the amazing love Christ has for us, does not do justice to the whole text.
Jesus didn’t fight flesh and blood on the wee hours before the cross. He fought spiritual principalities of the highest level, as seen, he was tempted thrice in the wilderness after a 40 days fast, weak and vulnerable, by Satan himself. Jesus was in the full blown spiritual warfare with the devil and powers of darkness, and that battle climaxed on the wee hours before he was crucified. That climax happened when he sweated blood in high loud cries and let the cup pass from him prayers to the Father to which he finally said “not my will but let your will be done”.
Like 22 39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him… 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[c]
That final words of him not my will, but yours be done, is the epitome of whole Christianity put into a few words, and that brought joy to Zion, salvation to the gentiles, and the whole world rejoice by those words, selah. And a dealt a death blow to Satan.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
Remember in: Hebrews 12: 2 For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus didn’t sacrifice himself for an eternal darkness of oblivion and sufferings on the cross to save mankind. He walked into that furnace, after struggled with the Father with tears and loud cries and even blood in his sweat, however, knowing the blessed assurance that the Father will raise him up from the death, and walked triumphantly for eternity as the Savior, redeemer of the world by his atonement, propitiation penal substitution death for mankind. He earned the right to redeem us after that death, and resurrection.
He loved us enough to die for us, yes, but not remaining in death, but totally resurrected to RULE and REIGN for all eternity.
My point is preaching on the sufferings of Christ to magnify his love for us, is not enough. Because it sets us in a no man’s land, conundrum, and it’s not accurate contextually. We must co include his triumphant resurrection on Easter Sunday. That’s why he did it. He loved us enough to die for us, yes, but not remaining in death, but totally resurrected to RULE and REIGN for all eternity.
Amen, come Lord Jesus. For thine is the Kingdom, Power, Glory for ever and ever, Amen.