Summary: We aren't promised to never experience suffering, but how do we react and handle it, when our lives become the target to suffering?

Can you imagine the emotional state, along with the nerve wrecking distress that Jesus Christ himself felt the day before he was nailed to the cross? Can you imagine the hours, down to the minutes, and then the seconds, that our Father counted till his ultimate sacrifice, and our ultimate salvation? Something we do not put a lot of time thinking about is the fact that Jesus was in great distress and troubled knowing his fate. Knowing the amazing perfection of Christ, it’s hard to imagine an emotional, and vulnerable Christ. Yet, the word of God makes this so clear to us.

In chapter 14 of Mark, as well as 22 of Luke, Jesus’ emotions are laid out for us. In Gethsemane Jesus goes to pray before his Father regarding his soon arriving fate.

Mark 14:33 states that he was deeply distressed and troubled, and the word even shows Jesus to be in such great anguish that his sweat is compared to drops of blood falling to the ground. {Luke v. 44}

Another amazing thing to point to is that in Mark, it states Jesus went back more than once to pray the same prayer [v.39], after he checked on his sleepy disciples.

Jesus prayed to God:

“Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet, not what I will, but what you will.” [Mark v. 36]

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” [Luke 22:42]

Jesus was in despair, his sweat dripped from his face, and his soul was overwhelmed. One thing we can think of, to translate his emotional state, is how we ourselves are with suffering and the unsettling things that arise in our lives. Have you ever had a moment where your nerves were on edge. When sorrow and heaviness made your soul downcast? Not much can calm you. Despair and sorrow is something we can easily associate with. When we are deeply troubled, we too sweat. Our hands get clammy and our shirts soiled. (And these are just physical responses to distress.) Yet, Jesus was in such great distress, his sweat dripped off him profusely. He was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”[Mark 14:34], in his own words. I think I can confidently say, we don’t know that type of sorrow, despair, or suffering, that Jesus was faced with that night. The suffering and despair he felt, was not his own. It was for us to feel, yet he took it for us, along with the cross.

Suffering is something that we have all faced, or will at some time. It can range from even the smallest things to the greatest. Whether it’s a financial need, an emotional suffering, or even a physical one , everyone can resonate with the word, suffering. (Although, our sufferings may not be equal to Jesus’, God still sees our sufferings, and the tolls they take on us.)

You see, Jesus cleary didn’t want the cup (the cross), if there were another way. He tells God, standing in faith, “Everything is possible for you.” knowing that God could easily take his cup. Jesus was suffering, even before the real suffering had come upon him. He was suffering with the ticking clock. He was suffering knowing the pain he was about to be in, the humiliation he was about to receive, and the lack of strength his body was about to be feel. He knew his body would be crushed, he knew his blood was going to be poured out. He stated so during his last supper![Mark 14:22-24] He knew the pain was coming, and that troubled his soul, deeper than we will ever know.

He prayed before God more than once, the same prayer. An angel even came before him to strengthen him. (meaning that the heaviness of his suffering was making him weak.) In this moment, we see Jesus’ human form. We see a man, who holds the whole world’s well deserved sufferings on his very shoulders. A man who didn’t deserve any of it.

Yet, in this all, a beautiful thing is seen in his prayer to the Father.

One of the things I found the most beautiful in Jesus’ prayer, is his words:

“Yet, not what I will, but what you will.”

Jesus didn’t just ask God to take his fate from him, he ended his prayer with submission to God. In all his suffering, Jesus went before God, sharing his burden with him, and asking to take it, if possible. But with a simple phrase, he tells God, but I will do what you will, even if it’s not what I will.

There are times where my life has been “derailed”. Sometimes so many things are going on at the same time and it takes a toll on me. There have been times where, financially, I have no clue as to how I am going to get by. Take that and combine it with heartache and emotional distress, and you get a whole lot of suffering. We have moments where we go to God, and we say: “God why am I suffering this way?” or “God can’t you take this from me?”.

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Nancy Parengkuan

commented on Apr 5, 2020

Thank you for this wonderful sermon . I am so blessed.. God bless you pastor...

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