“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)
Have you ever experienced deep grief? Have you ever found yourself in prayer asking, Lord, how can this be part of your will? Will you please take this away? Maybe you have watched someone battle cancer, or faced physical suffering yourself. Perhaps you have lost a loved one or witnessed tragedies you would rather not remember. In these seasons of my life, I have asked God these questions, but I have taken comfort in knowing that Jesus relates to us in our suffering.
Today, we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, which in Hebrew means the place of the oil press. The symbolism of oil-making is perhaps a foreshadowing of the anointed Messiah who would be crushed for our iniquities.
Darkness has fallen, and Christ is confronted with the coming Cross.
We watch helplessly as His disciples fall asleep at the time He needs them most. We see the sweat like drops of blood (Luke 22:44) drip down His face as He falls to the ground in agony. We hear Him cry out in His humanity to the Father, the One who said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). We look on in disbelief as Jesus is betrayed into the hands of sinners with a kiss. And we feel the isolation as His disciples desert Him.
How must the Father’s heart have broken! How must Jesus have felt? How could the Father’s good and perfect will allow His beloved son to take on the sin of the world?
Jesus is faced with a cup of suffering. We see Him in His full humanity as He prays three times for the Father to take it from Him. And yet, He knows He has come into the world for this very purpose: to fulfill the scriptures and bring salvation that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Ultimately, Jesus submits to the Father’s will as he prays “Not as I will, but as you will.”
He drinks the cup of wrath. For me. For you.
Are you willing to trust, even when faced with suffering, in the Father’s good and perfect will?
by Rachel Sanfelippo
By now you’ve heard some of the Bible passages that describe Jesus’ suffering and death. The gospel writers spent a lot of chapters describing these events because they are the most important in the whole Bible. And, they can be hard to read! It’s sad to think of how Jesus’ friends ran away, how He was mocked, beaten, and then crucified on the Cross.
So then, you are wondering: Why do we call this day “Good” Friday? Shouldn’t it be “Horrible Friday” or at least “Super-Sad Friday”?
What is “good” about Good Friday? God’s “good” plan to save us! Jesus Himself was totally “good” or sinless. And, because He was totally good, He could pay for all sins, for all time by dying on the Cross—something we could not do for ourselves. The punishment for our sins was put on Jesus, and He bore them all on the Cross. Because of this, God looks at us and sees us as “not guilty” – the way to Heaven is open to us! This was God’s good plan all along. (Genesis 3:15). When you think of that, maybe you want to call it “Great Friday” or “Amazing Friday”?
When we believe that Jesus has died in our place and we want to be forgiven of our sins—we just have to tell Him. We can pray something like this:
“Dear God, thank you for making this awesome rescue plan! Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins, so that I can live forever with you and your people in Heaven. Help me to know you better and to follow you closely all of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
by Laure Herlinger