then Jesus went with them to a place called gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “sit here, while i go over there and pray.” and taking with him peter and the two sons of zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. then he said to them, “my soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” and going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” [matt 26:36-39]
how do you respond to suffering – when it is loud, painful, and personal?
Jesus was called a “man of sorrows” while he walked this earth. [isaiah 53:3] this was not his only name, but it described one aspect of his life on this earth – he knew much sorrow and suffering that was loud, painful, and personal. and on the last night of his night, the suffering began long before the beatings.
his suffering would entail unimaginable physical pain. but, it would also involve pain at the soul level – the kind that often hurts worse than physical suffering. the judgment for sin is physical and spiritual.
the wages of sin is death. [rom 6:23]
the cost of sin is physical death and spiritual death. our bodies will die, but our soul also suffers a “spiritual death” if our sin is not covered and redeemed by the blood of Jesus. in Jesus’ suffering, we escape or our saved from the eternal cost of sin. and on this, the last night of Jesus’ life, his suffering began long before the cross. Jesu entered the garden suffering in his soul because he knew what was coming.
he knew the physical pain that would be needed to cover the wrath of God – for the sins of the world, for you.
he would suffer physically – be brutally beaten, whipped, cut, pierced, spit on, abused – and die for our sin.
he knew the spiritual pain that would be needed to cover the wrath of God – for the sins of the world, for you.
he would suffer spiritually – be separated from God the Father’s and Spirit’s love and joy they had known forever – and die for our sin.
he enters the garden knowing what is coming. he is suffering in his soul – yet …
he brings his friends,
he comes to pray,
he is honest and vulnerable about his suffering to God (and all in earshot), and
he is obedient to his Father’s will.
when you and i suffer …
we hide, pull away from friends and community,
in anger, we avoid talking to God, or
are not honest and vulnerable, and
we struggle to do his will.
may we, by the Spirit, learn from Jesus and live as he did during our suffering.
look at your Savior. look at him!
he is sorrowful unto death – yet he takes his closest friends, is honest before God, speaks vulnerable prayers, and yet obeys his Father’s will.
look at your Savior.
don’t feel condemnation – he took that for you.
don’t feel shame – he consumed that for you.
felling conviction – that is good. and in your conviction, feel and experience the grace he bought for you at the cross.
grace that covers, heals, and empowers.
grace that changes, transforms, and restores.
grace that gives us the mind and power of Jesus.
grace that changes suffering from – just pain – to joy.
grace that gives gives us the very presence of God in us – amidst our suffering.
thank you for your grace. may we freely receive your grace and swim in the life changing, soul changing reality of your grace. prepare my heart for suffering so i will embrace suffering as Jesus did. transform my mind so i will see suffering as a beautiful gift of your love. and, empower me to walk in your Spirit so i will walk as Jesus did in the middle of suffering. all for your glory – all for your name – all for you Jesus!
in your name,
~ john ryan