As Easter approaches, I would like to focus on The Suffering Servant, by Alistair Begg. This is a most powerful study of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, His suffering as one of us, His fear, His humanity. Oh, that we could have helped Him, given Him ease through this, His passion. Oh, what He has done for us!
The Suffering of the Servant, Part A, by Alistair Begg at Truth for Life
The Suffering of the Servant, Part B, by Alistair Begg at Truth for Life
Following is paraphrased from Alistair's Part A Broadcast:
"Jesus was deeply distressed and troubled: "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." "Everything is possible for you, Father, take this cup from me. Yet, not what I will, but what you will..."
"While the gospel writers provide no physical description of our Savior... We are given something of the chemistry of Christ, a little of the psychological makeup of Jesus, a little description of Jesus as a man...
"Jesus puts the Lord's prayer into practice in the Garden of Gethsemane...
"From the gospels we gain a striking and somewhat incongruous picture. Gospel readers familiar with Jesus as rabbi, teacher, worker of miracles. Aware that Jesus was a friend of sinners. So, we are not ready for this picture of a distressed Christ. He began to be deeply distressed and troubled...
"It was cold enough for a fire on that evening. So on an evening such as this, what is happening here, that we find Jesus sweating profusely? We know it was cold, Peter warmed himself at the fire. In his experience of deep distress and trouble, his apostles ask, "Jesus, what is wrong." "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death..."
"Most of us miss this, we don't really want to handle this...
"Moving now steadfastly toward the cross... "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work." "I am setting my face steadfastly towards Jerusalem, I will be handed over to cruel men, who will crucify me, and on the third day I will rise again..."
"Now, he shrinks from the cup. It's a different picture. He knows it to be the will of God. He has repeatedly asserted, affirmed the divine necessity of His suffering. Now, He is confronted with the immediacy of the ordeal. Deeply distressed. Deeply troubled. Overwhelmed to the point of death...
" "No man ever feared death like this man feared death." Martin Luther...
"John McLeod (Scottish theologian): "He went to the outer limits of human endurance, so close to the absolute limit that He was almost overwhelmed..."
"He is about to be destroyed at the Father's hands. Isaiah 53: It was the Lord's will to crush Him and to cause Him to suffer...
"Romans 8: He did not spare His own son, but gave Him up for us all...
"What you have here is: The Innocent about to suffer at the hands of God. The Sinless about to bear the wrath of God in Himself for sin. The prospect of the Perfect One being nailed on a cross on a garbage heap outside of Jerusalem, between two thieves, abused and disabused. Paul tells us why: "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Heaven..."
"John Stewart, theologian: "I could never believe in God were it not for the cross. I could never believe in a God who was removed from the pain and overwhelming distress of human suffering...
"There was nothing in Christ's humanity to buffer his senses or anesthetize his suffering. "They offered Him wine mingled with gall, but He refused to drink it..."
32 They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, "Sit here until I have prayed."
33 And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled.
34 And He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch."
35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will."
39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.
40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation."
41 And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray,
42 saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."
43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.
44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow,
46 and said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation."
Listen to Alistair Begg's most powerful insight into Christ's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus agonized as a man. We must not forget to give Him our most heartfelt gratitude for His suffering, for what He did for us. It is Good Friday. It is Easter. We give great love to Him, our thanks for what He has done for us, our childlike gratitude. We have not forgotten!