The Anguish Of Gethsemene

posted Jan 22, 2011, 7:46 AM by Test Test

  
Desire of Ages, pp. 686, 687

As they approached the garden, the disciples had marked the change that came over their Master. Never before had they seen Him so utterly sad and silent.

Matthew 26:36–38

Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy [distress of mind]. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, [distressed, sad] even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.

First Prayer:

 Matthew 26:39

And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. 

Desire of Ages, pp. 686, 687

He went a little distance from them—not so far that they could both see and hear Him—and fell prostrate upon the ground. He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His Spirit shuddered before it, this agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression.

As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.

As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness.… With the issues of the conflict before Him, Christ's soul was filled with the dread of separation from God. Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan's kingdom, and would never more be one with God.

And what was to be gained by this sacrifice? how hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: The people who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected You. They are seeking to destroy You, the foundation, the center and seal of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of your own disciples, who has listened to Your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray YouOne of your most zealous followers will deny You. All will forsake You. 

Christ's whole being abhorred the thought, that those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible. Its measure was the guilt of His nation, of His accusers and betrayer, the guilt of a world lying in wickedness. The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ, and the sense of God's wrath against sin was crushing out His life.

Behold Him contemplating the price to be paid for the human soul. In His agony He clings to the cold ground, as if to prevent Himself from being drawn farther from God. The chilling dew of night falls upon His prostrate form, but He heeds it not. From His pale lips comes the bitter cry, "O My Father, if it be possible, let this CUP pass from Me." Yet even now He adds, "Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt."

Matthew 26:40

And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, what, could ye not watch with Me one hour?

Desire of Ages, pp. 687, 688

The human heart longs for sympathy in suffering. This longing Christ felt to the very depths of His being.… Rising with painful effort, He staggered to the place where He had left His companions. But He "findeth them asleep." Had He found them praying, He would have been relieved. Had they been seeking refuge in God, that satanic agencies might not prevail over them, He would have been comforted by their steadfast faith. But they had not heeded the repeated warning "Watch and pray." At first they had been much troubled to see their Master, usually so calm and dignified, wrestling with a sorrow that was beyond comprehension. They had prayed as they heard the strong cries of the sufferer. They did not intend to forsake their Lord, butthey seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God.

Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Desire of Ages, p. 689

The disciples awakened at the voice of Jesus, but they hardly knew Him, His face was so changed by anguish. Addressing Peter, Jesus said, "Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." The weakness of His disciples awakened the sympathy of Jesus. He feared that they would not be able to endure the test which would come upon them in His betrayal and death. He did not reprove them, but said "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." Even in His greatest agony, He was seeking to excuse their weakness. "The spirit truly is ready," He said, "but the flesh is weak."

Second Prayer:

Matthew 26:42

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.

Luke 22:44

And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Journal of American Medicine, March 21, 1986

Jesus, apparently knowing that the time of His death was near, suffered great mental anguish, and as described by the physician Luke, His sweat became like blood.

Although this is a very rare phenomenon, bloody sweat [hematidrosis] may occur in highly emotional states.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 204

His soul was agonized, and He pleaded: "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." The sins of a lost world were upon Him and overwhelming Him. It was a sense of His Father's frown, in consequence of sin, which rent His heart with such piercing agony and forced from His brow great drops of blood, which, rolling down His pale cheeks, fell to the ground, moistening the earth.

Again the Son of God was seized with superhuman agony, and fainting and exhausted, He staggered back to the place of His former struggle. His suffering was even greater than before. As the agony of soul came upon Him, "His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." The cypress and palm trees were the silent witness of His anguish. From their leafy branches dropped heavy dew upon His stricken form, as if nature wept over its Author wrestling alone with the powers of darkness. Now His voice was heard on the still evening air, not in tones of triumph, but full of human anguish. The words of the Saviour were borne to the ears of the drowsy disciples, "O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done."

Matthew 26:43

And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 205

By these sleeping disciples is represented a sleeping church, when the day of God's visitation is nigh . It is a time of clouds and thick darkness, when to be found asleep is most perilous.

Jesus has left us this warning: "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping." The church of God is required to fulfill her night watch, however perilous, whether long or short. Sorrow is no excuse for her to be less watchful. Tribulation should not lead to carelessness, but to double vigilance. Christ has directed the church by His own example to the Source of their strength in times of need, distress, and peril. The attitude of watching is to designate the church as God's people indeed. By this sign the waiting ones are distinguished from the world and show that they are pilgrims and strangers upon the earth.

Desire of Ages, p. 690

The first impulse of the disciples was to go to Him; but He had bidden them tarry there, watching unto prayer. When Jesus came to them, He found them still sleeping. Again He had felt a longing for companionship, for some words from His disciples which would bring relief, and break the spell of darkness that well-nigh overpowered Him. But their eyes were heavy; "neither wist they what to answer Him." His presence aroused them. They saw His face marked with the bloody sweat of agony, and they were filled with fear. His anguish of mind they could not understand. "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men." Isaiah 52:14.

Third Prayer:

Matthew 26:44


And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 
Desire of Ages, pp. 692, 693

Turning away, Jesus sought again His retreat, and fell prostrate,overcome by the horror of a great darkness. The humanity of the Son of God trembled in that trying hour. He prayed not now for His disciples that their faith might not fail, but for His own tempted, agonized soul. the awful moment had come—that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. the fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin, and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin, to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from the pale lips of Jesus, "O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me except I drink it, thy will be done."

Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world's RedeemerHe sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before HimHe beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: "If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done."

Having made the decision, He fell dying to the ground from which He had partially risen. Where now were His disciples, to place their hands tenderly beneath the head of their fainting Master, and bathe that brow, marred indeed more than the sons of men? The Saviour trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.

"But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour's agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin.

The Trembling Cup - What Was It?

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 590

This cup of salvation the Lord offers us, while with His own lips He drained, in our stead, the bitter cup which our sins had prepared, and which was apportioned for us to drink.

Desire of Ages, p. 642

He was about to drink the cup of wrath; He must soon receive the final baptism of suffering.

Desire of Ages, p. 756

He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for thy sake becomes sin itself.… Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 202, 203

As the Son of God bowed in the attitude of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the agony of His Spirit forced from His pores sweat like great drops of blood. It was here that the horror of great darkness surrounded Him. The sins of the world were upon Him. He was suffering in man's stead as a transgressor of His Father's law. Here was the scene of temptation. The divine light of God was receding from His vision, and He was passing into the hands of the powers of darkness. In His soul anguish He lay prostrate on the cold earth. He was realizing His Father's frown. He had taken the CUP of suffering from the lips of guilty man, and proposed to drink it Himself, and in its place give to man the cup of blessing. The wrath that would have fallen upon man was now falling upon Christ. It was here that the mysterious cup trembled in His hand.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 73

The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and He hath borne the iniquity of us all. The bitter cup was apportioned to us to drink. Our sins mingled it. But our dear Saviour took the cup from our lips and drank it Himself, and in its stead He presents to us a cup of mercy, blessing, and salvation.

Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1124

The cup of suffering Christ had taken from the lips of guilty man, and proposed to drink it Himself, and in its place, give to man the cup of blessing. The wrath that would have fallen upon man, was now falling upon Christ.

The cup Christ drank:
1. Wrath Mercy
2. Bitterness Blessing
3. Suffering Salvation
4. Woe Forgivness
5. Death Life
The cup He offers us:
1. Mercy
2. Blessing
3. Salvation
4. Forgivness
5. Life

The Hand That Sustained the Son to Drink the Cup:

Luke 22:43

And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him.

SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1123

In the supreme crisis, when heart and soul are breaking under the load of sin, Gabriel is sent to strengthen the divine sufferer, and brace Him to tread His blood-stained path. And while the angel supports His fainting form, Christ takes the bitter cup, and consents to drink its contents. Before the suffering One comes up the wail of a lost and perishing world, and the words come from the blood-stained lips, "Nevertheless, if man must perish unless I drink this bitter cup, Thy will, not Mine, be done."

SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1103

In the Garden of Gethsemane Christ suffered in man's stead, and the human nature of the Son of God staggered under the terrible horror of the guilt of sin, until from His pale and quivering lips was forced the agonizing cry, "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me:" but if there is no other way by which the salvation of fallen man may be accomplished, then "not as I will, but as Thou wilt." Human nature would then and there have died under the horror of the sense of sin, had not an angel from heaven strengthened Him to bear the agony.

The power that inflicted retributive justice upon man's substitute and surety, was the power that sustained and upheld the suffering One under the tremendous weight of wrath that would have fallen upon a sinful world. Christ was suffering the death that was pronounced upon the transgressors of God's law.

It is a fearful thing for the unrepenting sinner to fall in the hands of the living God. This is proved by the history of the destruction of the old world by a flood, by the record of the fire which fell from heaven and destroyed the inhabitants of Sodom. But never was this proved to so great an extent as in the agony of Christ, the Son of the infinite God, when He bore the wrath of God for a sinful world. It was in consequence of sin, the transgression of God's law, that the Garden of Gethsemane has become pre-eminently the place of suffering to a sinful world. No sorrow, no agony, can measure with that which was endured by the Son of God.

Man has not been made a sin-bearer, and he will never know the horror of the curse of sin which the Saviour bore. No sorrow can bear any comparison with the sorrow of Him upon whom the wrath of God fell with overwhelming force. Human nature can endure but a limited amount of test and trial. The finite can only endure the finite measure, and human nature succumbs; but the nature of Christ had a greater capacity for suffering; for the human existed in the divine nature, and created a capacity for suffering to endure that which resulted from the sins of a lost world. The agony which Christ endured, broadens, deepens, and gives a more extended conception of the character of sin, and the character of the retribution which God will bring upon those who continue in sin. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ to the repenting, believing sinner.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 206, 207

The divine Son of God was fainting, dying. The Father sent a messenger from His presence to strengthen the divine Sufferer and brace Him to tread His bloodstained path. Could mortals have viewed the amazement and the sorrow of the angelic host as they watched in silent grief the Father separating His beams of lightlove, and gloryfrom the beloved Son of His bosom, they would better understand how offensive sin is in His sight.

Desire of Ages, pp. 693, 694

The worlds unfallen and the heavenly angels had watched with intense interest as the conflict drew to its close. Satan and his confederacy of evil, the legions of apostasy, watched intently this great crisis in the work of redemption. The powers of good and evil waited to see what answer would come to Christ's thrice-repeated prayer. Angels had longed to bring relief to the divine sufferer, but this might not be. No way of escape was found for the Son of God. In this awful crisis,when everything was at stake, when the mysterious CUP trembled in the hand of the sufferer, the heavens opened, a light shone forth amid the stormy darkness of the crisis hour, and the mighty angel who stands in God's presence, occupying the position from which Satan fell, came to the side of Christ. 

The angel came not to take the CUP from Christ's hand, but to strengthen Him to drink it, with the assurance of the Father's love. He came to give power to the divine-human suppliant. He pointed Him to the open heavens, telling Him of the souls that would be saved as the result of His sufferings. He assured Him that His Father is greater and more powerful than Satan, that His death would result in the utter discomfiture of Satan, and that the kingdom of this world would be given to the saints of the Most High. He told Him that He would see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied, for He would see a multitude of the human race saved, eternally saved.

Christ's agony did not cease, but His depression and discouragement left Him. The storm had in no wise abated, but He who was its object was strengthened to meet its fury. He came forth calm and serene. A heavenly peace rested upon His bloodstained face. He had borne that which no human being could ever bear; for He had tasted the sufferings of death for every man.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 102

Three times the Saviour prayed: "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me." It was here that the destiny of a lost world trembled in the balance. Should He refuse to drink the cup, the result would be eternal ruin to the human race. But an angel from heaven stengthened the Son of God to accept the cup and drink its bitter woe.

How few there are who realize that all this was borne for them individually! How few who say: "It was for me, that I might form a character for the future immortal life."

Gethsemane's Strength is Ours:

SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1123, 1124

The strength given to Christ in the hour of bodily suffering and mental anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, has been and will be given to those who suffer for His dear name's sake. The same grace given to Jesus, the same comfort, the more than mortal steadfastness, will be given to every believing child of God, who is brought into perplexity and suffering, and threatened with imprisonment and death, by Satan's agents. Never has a soul that trusts in Christ been left to perish. The rack, the stake, the many inventions of cruelty, may kill the body, but they cannot touch the life that is hid with Christ in God.

SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1123

In the agonizing struggle of Christ, our Substitute and Surety, the Father was beside His Son, and He is beside every soul that struggles with discouragement and difficulty.

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