Have you ever seen great, important people in their private or vulnerable moments?
Luke 23:32 – 38
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.’
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews.
In today’s passage we witness a very human moment from the greatest man who ever lived. Jesus is alone, on his knees in the garden of Gethsemane, and is preparing himself for his death. As the pace of the account of Jesus slows down to take in every crucial detail, we witness this very personal, very human moment of Jesus’.
Here is Jesus, staring with dread down the barrel of his own
death. Our saviour knows what fear of death feels like for us. He pleads with
God to “take this cup away from me” (v42). His agony comes from knowing not
only is he about to die, but he is about to die bearing the judgement and wrath
of his Father God for the sins of the whole world. The ‘cup’ that Jesus wants
to avoid is an Old Testament image for God’s judgement being poured out (Ps
60:3, 75:8; Is 51:17,22 ; Jer 25:15; Ob 16; Rev 14:10)- Jesus is facing God’s anger and
punishment for the sins of the whole world! And we see how dreadful God’s
punishment and wrath is at sin by the fact Jesus begs God to take it from him.
But, when it comes to the crunch, Jesus willingly submits his own desires to God’s. “Yet not my will, but yours be done” he prays (v42). How costly and hard that must have been to pray. Even now, in agony and fear and anguish, literally sweating because he is under such severe anxiety (v44), our faithful Saviour Jesus willingly gives up what he wants so he can obey his Father God, and rescue the people he loves: us.
So here we find two sobering truths. Firstly, our sin is a huge problem to God.
(Head: Look at the agony Jesus goes through to take sin away from us! And this scene is only the beginning!
Heart: It’s been said to me that, if you want to see how horrific sin is, don’t look at yourself to see how bad you think you are, but look at what Jesus had to do to remove your sin.)
Secondly, Jesus loves us, truly and deeply.
Head: See again that Jesus was willing to undergo this torturous death so you could be adopted into his family!
Heart: this gives wonderful assurance that God loves us and saves us. Apostle Paul says in Romans 8 that after learning what Jesus went through for us, he is convinced nothing can stop God loving us. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39).
Hands: So let us turn from sin in the hundred little decisions we make today, and choose to love others in our actions, even when it costs us. We’d be imitating our Saviour Jesus if we did so.
Dear Father God,
I am in awe of how truly and deeply loving you are. Thank-you that Jesus willingly died on the cross instead of me, so I can be in your family forever. I’m sorry for the sins I’ve committed that made his death necessary. Help me to hate sin and turn away from its gain and again today, and instead turn to you who loves me best and forgives me completely.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Man of Sorrows
Living Church – (Creek Road)