Man of Sorrows

I’d like to repost something I wrote on my blog about a year ago. I read it last night and it hit home once again.

“Terrified and Depressed” 28 April, 2009:

No, I’m not talking about myself. I’m talking about Jesus. My Lord and Savior. My God.

I know I’ve missed Good Friday by a couple of weeks, but this is really striking me tonight. This is possibly the most human Jesus we’ve ever seen.

I’m reading a book by C.J. Mahaney called Living the Cross Centered Life (thanks Gail!), and this chapter is “Staring into the cup—the shock of Gethsemane.” Mark’s gospel tells us that when Jesus got to Gethsemane with His disciples, “He began to be deeply distressed and troubled” (Mark 14:33). I looked it up—the Greek for deeply distressed actually means “to be struck with terror.” That’s like one moment you’re fine and the next you’ve been slapped in the face with gut-wrenching fear. Jesus experienced this? God? The One who calmed the storm when His disciples were terrified and told them they had little faith?

What about this other word—troubled? This word means “to be troubled; great distress or anguish; depressed.” This is the strongest of the Greek words for depressed. Jesus wasn’t just a little sad here; He tanked. He says it in the next verse, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Whoa.

Mahaney calls it “the detestable drink.” Read his words:

As Jesus lies prostrate on the ground, we overhear Him praying: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” He’s making this plea repeatedly. With His face to the ground, we can see sweat on His temples. He lifts His head, and His expression reveals an agony so intense that His sweat is “like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” His words tell us why: “Remove this cup.” Jesus pleads again. In this moment, there’s no doubt what is dominating His heart and mind. … This cup contains the full vehemence and fierceness of God’s holy wrath poured out against all sin, and we discover in Scripture that it’s intended for all of humanity to drink [Isaiah 51:17]. … No wonder that when Jesus stares into this detestable vessel, He stumbles to the ground. That’s why there’s shuddering terror and deep distress for Him at this moment. In the crucible of human weakness He’s brought face-to-face with the abhorrent reality of bearing our iniquity and becoming the object of God’s full and furious wrath. What Jesus recoils from here is not an anticipation of the physical pain associated with crucifixion. Rather it’s a pain infinitely greater—the agony of being abandoned by His Father.

So when I am struggling in emotional or psychological pain, I need to go to Gethsemane and watch this scene. ‘Cause He gets it.

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