On that dark night in the dew-covered garden, Jesus was doing anything but sleeping. He knew that the greatest test of His obedience was about to happen. He was going to be arrested, abused, and ultimately murdered. By this time tomorrow, He would be dead.
This was overwhelming enough, but that is not what startled Jesus. That is not what made Him weep with anguish. As He laid down His life, according 2 Corinthians 5, He was going to take all the sin of the whole world on Himself. He had never sinned, now He would bear the sin of the world in His body. The wickedness of the adulterous woman, the greed of Zacchaeus, the vices of the Gadarene, every evil thought, every idle word, every despicable deed would be placed on this One Who had never done a single thing wrong.
As the self-sacrificial friend of sinners, He then would become not just the bearer of our sin, but ultimately the bearer of our punishment for that sin. The wrath of God that is reserved for the unrighteous would be poured out on Him. He was going to be crushed and battered under the devastating weight of God’s wrath. At this proposition, it is no wonder that Jesus cried in anguish at what He knew was the obedience God had sent Him to accomplish.
“If it is possible, find a different way, Father!” was His cry. As the obedient Servant of God, He had no greater desire than to accomplish what God wanted. But the obedience that was called for on this night, would bring Him into separation from the holy God, His Father, that He loved so much. For the first time, obedience would take Him away from God. This proposition was painful, spiritually and physically.
After praying, and re-praying, God granted the strength for the task. Jesus rose confidently. His face was fixed to the task. He would not look back. The wrestle was over, the day was coming, and He would not stop it. He was ready now, by God’s grace, to become the sacrificial Lamb that He was sent to be. Calling to His disciples, “Rise up, let us go; my betrayer is here.” Jesus walked straight to those that had come to arrest Him. The last words before He was dragged off to be abused were words loaded with the Sovereignty of the God He was trusting in, “the scriptures must be fulfilled.”
This was a walk that would be lonely. Separation from God was imminent. Verse 50 says that “they all forsook Him, and fled,” just like He said they would. It was now His to endure alone until the end. This would be the darkest act ever executed in the history of the world. He was not going to fight it, like a lamb to the slaughterhouse, He would press on, quiet, with no argument or excuse, fully obedient, to save the world.
Food For Thought: Reread Mark 14:36, what expression did Jesus use to express His desire to only, always obey God?