Bible Society of South Africa
Frank Retief

Remember his strength – Day 15

Gethsemane

Bible text(s)

39He went a little farther on, threw himself face downwards on the ground, and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want.”

Matthew 26:39GNBOpen in Bible reader

8But God has shown us how much he loves us — it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!

Romans 5:8GNBOpen in Bible reader

Many of us have experienced that sense of dread or depression that overtakes us before we have to face a particular trial or crisis. However, no one alive has ever experienced what Jesus experienced in Gethsemane, the garden on the Mount of Olives, just before he was arrested.

Notice the words used in Matthew 26:37: “He began to be sorrowful and troubled.” Then, in verse 38, he says: “My soul is overwhelmed within me …” What is this about? Was Jesus simply afraid of the terrible physical ordeal that awaited him? It could not be so, because thousands before him had experienced crucifixion, some with great bravery and defiance of their Roman executioners.

No! Something far more serious was happening here. The trouble of what was happening was happening within him, in his soul, where no one could see it. He was in the process of taking upon himself the guilt of the world. He was bearing our burden and was about to offer himself up as a substitution to his Father’s wrath. Sin must be punished. God is just, not unkind, but justice must be done as far as sin is concerned. God’s Son was about to bear the punishment due to us for our sins. He was facing the judgement instead of us.

What did this judgement involve? It involved nothing less than that he should be banished from his Father’s presence. How can we ever even begin to imagine what this must have been to the Second Person of the Trinity – who was forever in the presence of the Father? However, the main thing for you to know is that all this was for you. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Never doubt God’s love for you. Never think you are too unworthy for God to be bothered about you. Remember Gethsemane! There, Jesus took your burden and prepared to face your punishment. Why? Because he loved you even before you were born.

Be humbled. Be amazed. Be overwhelmed. However, never be discouraged. Never doubt his love.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
Find us on