Jesus and His disciples had just left the Upper Room, where they shared their Last Supper together. They walked to the Mount of Olives, which was a familiar place to them.
“When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not fall into temptation.”
And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will but Yours be done.”
And there appeared to Him an angel from Heaven, strengthening Him in spirit.
And being in agony of mind, He prayed all the more earnestly and intently, and His sweat became like great clots of blood dropping down upon the ground.” —Luke 22:38-44
I must admit that for years, I thought that Jesus’ main agony in the Garden was the crucifixion that awaited Him.
Crucifixion was an absolutely ghastly, gruesome, humiliating and shockingly excruciating way to die.
However, it wasn’t until I read David Platt’s book Radical that I realized what was truly going on:
“Why was He trembling in that garden, weeping and full of anguish? We can rest assured that He was not a coward about to face Roman soldiers. Instead, He was a Savior about to endure divine wrath. Listen to His words: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me.’ The cup is not a reference to a wooden cross; it is a reference to divine judgment. It is the cup of God’s wrath. This is what Jesus is recoiling from in the garden. All God’s holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on Him, and He is sweating blood at the thought of it. (pp. 35-36).
It is not politically correct to talk about the subject of God’s wrath.
We prefer to focus on His love, kindness, and mercy.
All those things are unspeakably wonderful…but we ignore His hatred of sin to our eternal peril.
Did you ever wonder why Jesus had to come to earth at all? Why He had to die?
When people say they are “saved” what does that mean? Saved from what? Or…Whom?
We all like to think that we are good people.
But that’s not what the Bible says.
The Bible says that there is no one who is good (Romans 3:10-18).
The Bible says that we are born physically alive but spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1).
The human heart is described as “desperately wicked and deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Since God is perfect in holiness, His standard is perfection.
Do you know anyone who has perfectly kept the Ten Commandments? Of course not.
We are utterly without hope because the penalty for sin (any sin) is death (Romans 6:23).
God would come to earth in human form, live a perfect life, and agree to take the terrifying punishment that we deserve.
And that is exactly what He did.
His Name is Jesus.
You broke God’s perfect Law…and when Jesus finally got up off of His knees in that Garden after a time of agonizing prayer, He was ready to pay your fine and face God’s righteous and divine anger… so that you would never have to.
The matter was forever and gloriously settled.
The darkest moment in all of human history was soon to take place…and our Savior, in all His glorious strength and powerful love was ready to carry out the plan that had been formed by the Trinity before time began.
Our rescue was about to begin…