The Pain of the Cross
In his book titled, Systematic Theology, writer Wayne Grudem outlines four aspects of Jesus’ pain on the cross that I would like to share with you today. I want us to turn our hearts and thoughts to the sacrifice that Jesus made for each of us those many years ago. He told his early church on that Passover night before He was crucified that they were to continue in observance of His supper until He returned, and that they were to do so as a continual reminder of what He was going to do for them. The Scriptures say…
"…the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come." (1 Co. 11:23-36)
Jesus intended that we as believers, those of us who have placed our faith in Him, remember what He has done for us. He knew far better than we that our tendency would be to forget the sacrifice He made for us, so He said to keep observing His supper until His return lest we forget, lest we take for granted the precious blood that was shed on our behalf. Jesus died for you and for me. He died for every man and woman, every boy and girl that ever has lived, that is living today, and ever will live in the future. His death was universal, it was unconditional, and it is incomparable to anything anyone or any thing could ever do on your behalf. How great is the love of Christ!
In our text, Jesus has already observed the Passover meal with his disciples, and He had been teaching them about His coming death that would occur only hours from then. Remember that Jesus has told them that He was going to a place to which they could not come, and Peter told the Lord that He would give His life for Jesus sake. Jesus told Peter that not only would he not die that night for Jesus, but would instead deny Him three times. Jesus went on to tell His followers that they would be hated and severely persecuted for giving their lives to Him.
After much discussion about this subject of His death and preparing the men for it, Jesus retired to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Our text reveals something very personal and intimate about our Lord only hours before His death. Matthew 26:36-38 says,
"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. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me."
It is obvious from our reading that the sufferings of Jesus intensified as He drew near to the cross. We cannot know the agony He endured as the climax of the coming sacrifice drew near. Let’s notice four different aspects of the pain that Jesus experienced for you and me according to the Scriptures.