Summary: Jesus bore the full weight of our sin so we will never have to.
I. After His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, not as the Warrior King they wanted and were expecting, but as the Lamb of God, Jesus now moves deliberately to His destiny with His death on the Cross on Friday.
Even though He knew what was going to happen to Him this week, as He pointed out to His disciples in Luke 18:31-32, “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be turned over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him;’” His actual encounter with sin as the Father’s sacrificial lamb had yet to begin.
It begins now! It is late Thursday night. He had been with His disciples in the Upper Room earlier where they celebrated the Feast of the Passover together; where He washed their feet to model a servants heart to them and where He instituted His Lord’s Supper to give us all a lasting picture of what His taking our place on the Cross is all about. Now we find Jesus in the Garden with His face to the ground according to Matthew (26:39). His actual suffering for our sins begins here as Jesus looks into “this cup” for the first time; and it is not a pretty sight!
Today there will be no jokes. I am far too stunned with what I’ve been looking at all week to do anything but stand in awe of Jesus. I feel like a soldier returning from the front lines after seeing the carnage of war first hand. Today I want us all to experience Jesus’ suffering for us at least enough so we can appreciate what He did for us between Thursday night and Friday afternoon!
I’m going to be sharing three video clips and my thoughts about what took place during this time as we move towards sharing our LS together. When we do partake of the LS elements, both the cup and the bread will be passed at the same time. Please take some time to pray before you partake of these elements. Pray alone or with your family and friends and then receive the cup and the bread when you are ready. The LS is for those who are already born again believers in Jesus, so only partake in the supper if you have personally received Jesus as your Savior and Lord already. Also, please confess any known sin in your life first. I’m sure you will see very clearly by then why this is so important.
In verses 39-42 we see Jesus in the Garden asking His Father, if it were possible, if there was another way, to please remove “this cup” from Him. He wasn’t trying to avoid God’s will, but to avoid “this” suffering if there was another way to accomplish God’s will without having to face this horrible “cup.” In other words, Jesus was beginning to experience, to be crushed by, the awful weight of the sin of the world; and it was a horrible thing for Him to have to face.
II. This Cup is a . . .
a. Cup of SUFFERING - The Garden
The first video clip is very short, so don’t blink. It if from Focus on the Family’s Faith Lessons Video Series by Ray Vander Laan. Ray is in Capernaum, a city along the Sea of Galilee, and he is explaining the process for getting olive oil out of the olives. Let’s take a look . . .
“In order to extract the olive oil, the Jews used an olive press – a “gethsemene.” They lowered heavy stone slabs onto baskets of olives that had already been crushed in the olive crusher. Gradually the enormous pressure of the slab’s weight squeezed the oil out of the olive pulp, and the oil ran into a pit. There it was collected in jars. The image of Gethsemene . . . provides a vivid image of the suffering (Jesus) experienced that night. The weight of the world’s sin pressed down upon Him in the same way a heavy stone slab pressed down upon the olives in the olive press . . . Jesus agonized under the pressing weight of all humanity’s sin . . . As Jesus prayed, the emotional weight of what would be laid on Him was so heavy that it literally squeezed His own blood out of Him (verse 44).”
(1) Jesus was in anguish – severe mental struggle – not about whether to obey; that was settled, but with the horror of what He was now facing – v44. Jesus was seeing sin in its rawest form, which, as a human, He had never seen before. When I served as an MP in the Army we watched a video called, Sexual Deviants. It was a “police-photo” reality portrayal of the vile behavior of some of the inmates we would be dealing with in the stockade. We had never seen the real evil that sexual deviants can be involved in, but we needed to in order to do our jobs safely.