Matthew 26:36–39: 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.”
The weight of the world was on Jesus’ shoulders that night in the garden. What he was about to endure would determine the eternal future of mankind. He saw what he must endure, and it was beyond horrible. The one who knew no sin would become sin for us.
Can you imagine that? No, we can’t. It is enough for us to feel the weight of our own guilt. It troubles us in the night. It distresses us more than anything else. We can’t escape it, except in the assurance of God’s forgiveness in Christ. We wait for that blessed day when Jesus will come and restore us to innocence, when guilt and shame will be no more.
But there was no pardon waiting for Jesus. He must endure the hopelessness of hell for our sakes. He said that his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He was so troubled that he begged with his face to the ground that his heavenly Father might find some other way than this. And he prayed, “Not as I will, but as you will.” Oh, how our Savior suffered for us!
Can we ever take our sins lightly, when we think of how he suffered for us? Can we ever stop praising him with our whole hearts? He endured what was owed us so that we might live our lives knowing that we are forgiven and that someday we will dwell with him in guilt-free innocence forever.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are my strength and my salvation! Of whom shall I be afraid? What terrifies me most, Lord, is not what others can do to me, but what I myself am capable of doing. Teach me to be humble and to repent daily and to trust in you alone for my salvation and my strength. And when I fall, restore me quickly! Amen.