Text: Luke 22:35-53 | Listen to Message
Falling Apart for You
Over the course of history, millions of martyrs have faced horrific executions more stoically, and with more apparent bravery, than the Jesus we find in The Garden of Gethsemane on the night he was betrayed. Have you ever stopped to think about that?
The physician Luke says Jesus was in agony – a word that indicates extreme psychological and emotional anguish – and his angst was so intense his capillaries burst and he began to sweat great drops of blood (Luke 22:44).
Seriously, what was that about? Our text gives us two clues.
1. Jesus bore the filth of our sin.
In verse 37, Jesus says to his disciples, “For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’”
Jesus quotes the words of Isaiah 53:12 and applies them to himself. He’s saying, “Isaiah was talking about me. I’m the one who will bear your griefs, your sorrows, and your sins. All of your iniquity will be laid on me.”
Think about that! The perfect, holy, righteous Son of God, who is wholly set apart from every form of evil, was bracing himself to bear the collective filth of our sin. The One who is inherently and eternally pure would be counted as lawless. Furthermore . . .
2. Jesus bore the full weight of our sin’s consequences.
In verse 42, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” Cup? What cup? What’s he talking about?
The “cup” was a familiar Old Testament symbol of God’s wrath toward sin. From the Psalms to the Prophets, the cup meant the outpouring of God’s righteous judgment upon sin and sinners (see Psalm 11:5-6; 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15-16; Habakkuk 2:16). This wrath included staggering shame, separation from God, and ultimately death.
Kent Hughes writes,
The cup was steaming with a brew that was so awful, so fearful, so dreadful, so unbearable, so appalling, so horrendous that Jesus’ soul was revulsed and convulsed. How could he drink such filth? How could he bear his Father’s wrath? (Luke, p. 769)
So, you see, Jesus wasn’t falling apart in the Garden of Gethsemane because he feared the physical torment of nails being driven through his hands and feet. His anguish was caused by the gravity and magnitude of what he knew he was about to do. The Light would become darkness. The Holy One would bear our sins. The Father would forsake the Son. And the Author of life would die, condemned. Why? Because that’s what our sins deserved.
But here’s the Good News: Because Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath – and drank it down to the dregs – there is no wrath left for those who trust in him. God will never demand that you pay for something that Jesus already paid for.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul
—Philip P. Bliss, It Is Well With My Soul
And it gets even better. Jesus was counted sinful so that sinners could be counted righteous in him. He took all the punishment and wrath we deserve so that we could get all the blessing and life only he deserved. This double exchange is the heart of the Christian Gospel. Now go live empowered by Christ’s great love!