The last supper of Jesus with his disciples has ended.
As was His custom, Jesus goes out of the City to the Mount of Olives. He goes to the familiar garden there, the garden of Gethsemane. He takes Peter, James
It is the night on which He is betrayed. The next day, He will suffer the things He has known were coming
He is in agony. How else to describe it but for Luke to say that His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44).
I suppose in some way, we could say that we have felt something like this. We have felt the fear, the anxiety, and the dread in having to face a dreadful day that we may want to be able to avoid but cannot. Jesus is feeling this sort of thing.
On the other hand, Jesus is also experiencing something that we could never comprehend. He is a true human being, for sure. But He is also God’s Son. We cannot separate His person, as if to isolate the distress He is experiencing from the divine nature.
He is innocent of sin before the Father. He has done no wrong. He justly has no guilt. He does not deserve any of what He is about to suffer.
But what does He begin to experience? It is the beginning of the agony that will find its last expression on the cross with the words “My God, My God. Why have you forsaken Me?” (Mat. 27:46 ESV). It is the dread and sorrow, fear and anxiety of One who knew no sin but has now been made sin by the Father (2 Cor. 5:21). And this not for His own sin, or for the sin of one human being. He is bearing the sin of every human being. Everyone. Jesus is quite literally bearing the weight of the world. Its destiny is on His shoulders. He begins to feel the weight of the cup.
What cup is this? It is a combination of things.
In the Scripture, a cup can mean a destiny. We can see this in Psalm 16:5 (ESV), “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.”
It can also be a reference to God’s wrath. An example is Jeremiah 25:15-16 (ESV), “Thus the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you
Jesus is in agony because His destiny is to drink this cup. This reality is coming upon Him. The cup is the just wrath of God against all human sin and rebellion. It is a wrath that makes people stagger and crazed at the fear it brings. So, His heart is like wax. It is melted within Him (Psalm 22:14b).
The agony is that God the Father is about to turn to Jesus, God’s Son, the face of wrath. Isaiah speaks of this, “We, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned—everyone—to his own way. And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 ESV). In this way, the Father’s fierce wrath is turned away from us
This is agony indeed. It is Jesus’s agony. It is an agony He bears alone
Nevertheless, theistic philosophers and theologians, in the best tradition of reason, may now want to protest. In terms of the nature of God and logical consistency, it is impossible for God to suffer anything like the agony we are talking about this evening
Reason has no authority on this ground. We enter with Jesus into the garden on this
Because of love. God so loved the world, so loved you and me, that He gave His only Son.
Jesus is so much the friend of sinners, of us, that He is taking upon Himself the Father’s just punishment of sin, though He has not otherwise personally offended the Father.
No law, no reason, no sense of justice can comprehend this love and what the Father and Son are doing