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The Anguish of Sin

July 13, 2015

Christ praying in the Garden
At the base of the Mount of Olives, only a couple miles from the western gates of Jerusalem, was a grove of olive trees known as the Garden of the Oil Press. Into the dark quiet of the passover night Jesus led His disciple into the city. On that night the city of Jerusalem was absolutely still. Though filled with hundreds of thousands of people, very few were out on that sacred night. Jesus and His disciples left the quiet city and ventured to one of His common retreats, the Garden known as Gethsemane. The grove was arranged with walkways and restful places, a retreat set aside for the refreshment and rest of the people. There in the garden Jesus began to feel the extreme weight of the task before Him. In the garden Jesus prayed, alone.

Jesus left all but three of the disciples at the gates of the garden. He took Peter, James and John into the garden to join with Him in prayer. Once inside Jesus began to be “sore amazed and very heavy.” In that peaceful garden where many looked for serenity Jesus was surrounded with sorrow and nearly crushed with great grief. The language of the gospels is most expressive. Jesus was practically overwhelmed by the terrors that lay before Him. As He walked into the garden, Jesus was assaulted by intense emotional distress. Feeling the sudden surge of fear and sorrow, He left the three men with instructions to wait for him and watch with Him in prayer.

Jesus went a little farther and collapsed to the ground in prayer. There in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus began to feel the heavy weight of the penalty of sin. Jesus’ agony in the garden shows the horrible cost of sin. On the eve of His crucifixion, His suffering has just begun and Jesus anticipates the horrible death that awaits Him. In the garden we see just how this death affected Jesus. He was not stoic towards it. He did not put on a happy face to endure it as best He could. He was terrorized by the impending death. Not that He was afraid of Satan or fearful of failure. He knew the depth of suffering He was about to undergo. He knew the physical pain that was coming. He knew the emotional trauma that was approaching. Most importantly, He knew the horrible wages of sin. Do not mistake His fear for cowardice. Do not read this as the craven’s desire to escape difficulty for ease. This is the legitimate fear of a fearful event. It is proper to fear the wrath of God. Only a fool would make a show of bravery in the face of Divine judgment. Jesus was in anguish because He was about to endure the undiluted wrath of God for the sin of all humanity. In the garden we see the soul wrenching agony of sin. In the garden we see the heart rending anguish of the Son about to be separated from the Father. In the garden we see an echo of the measureless depths of the horrors of sin. In the garden we see the magnificence of God’s love.


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