Imagine seeing it in your mind: Jesus, the Son of God, sweating in the garden. And not just sweating–but sweating blood. Our Messiah is in full-blown agony. He is so overcome with anguish at the thought of going to cross that He is sweating blood.
Why was He sweating blood? Why was He so overwhelmed by the near-future death He was going to experience? Why was Jesus so distraught?
It’s because He wasn’t going to merely die.
Bearing the Father’s Wrath
It doesn’t get talked about much these days, but we need to understand that God has wrath. His wrath is real. And He uses it. He used it on His only Son.
Jesus wasn’t merely going to the cross to die. He was also going to bear the full, unadulterated wrath of God. All of it. Every ounce. Not one drop left. He drank ever last drop of the cup of God’s righteous wrath.
This is a central tenet of the gospel yet many in evangelicalism ignore it. Without Jesus absorbing God’s wrath, you and I aren’t saved. There is no good news without Jesus bearing God’s wrath. Fact of that matter is, God’s wrath had to be appeased because of sin. To be frank: sin will be paid for either by Jesus’s wrath-absorbing sacrifice or by you in Hell for eternity.
But what I want to focus on here is the mere fact that Jesus went to the cross to bear God’s wrath–on your behalf.
Not Just Your Sin
Think about it. Jesus was in the garden in such anguish that He was sweating blood. He almost couldn’t bear it. At one point He asked the Father to “take this cup from me (Luke 22:42),” alluding to the fact He was about to experience the cup of God’s wrath.
But understand friend, He wasn’t merely dying for your sins. He wasn’t merely bearing God’s wrath for all your sins. He was about to bear God’s wrath for all the sins of all God’s people. That is a lot of bearing. It’s been said before, but what we’d experience in Hell for eternity, Jesus experienced for three hours on the cross.
How amazing! The Son of God willingly laid down His life and not into died, but took God’s wrath on Himself–for you! He absorbed the Father’s wrath so you didn’t have to. Jesus looked at us–those who hated Him, spat on Him, had apathy for Him, and even killed Him–and said, “I’m going to do this for you.” What love!
Dwell on His Sacrifice
Believer, it would do you well to think on this. Ponder the depths of agony Christ went through just so you didn’t have to experience it–even when you deserved it. That’s His love for you! Not only did Jesus not have to do this but it would’ve been fully justified for Him not to do so because of our rebellion.
And yet, He went.
Christian, dwell on the glory of Christ’s sacrifice. Let the horror of what He went through sink into the depths of your soul and cause you to glory in His atonement. It was for you. On your behalf.