Friday Morning Manna                 August 9, 2019

Nathaniel Fajardo                

Christ’s Humanity Suffered the Superhuman Agony of Soul in Gethsemane

The shedding of the atoning, sin-cleansing blood of the second Adam “for the remission of sins” may also be thought of as a short yet intense process commencing in the night of His last agony in Gethsemane and culminated Calvary. It began when He “sweated blood” through the pores of His noble human brow in His death struggle at Gethsemane as the guilt of the sins of the world were rolled upon His human nature and the Father “hid His face” from His only-begotten Son, causing the dreadful sense of separation and connection between Father and Son.

Carefully consider the following from the pen of inspiration. It is well worth all our attention and time for they have profound lessons for each one of us:     

      “As He neared Gethsemane . . . He seemed to be shut out from the light of God’s sustaining presence [this is what the guilt of sin does]. Now He was numbered among the transgressors. The guilt of humanity He must bear. Upon Him who knew no sin must be laid the iniquity of us all [Isa. 53:6]. So dreadful does sin appear to Him, so great is the weight of guilt which he must bear, that He is tempted to fear it will shut Him out forever from His Father’s love. [Have we ever experienced this temptation?] Feeling how terrible is the wrath of God against transgression, He exclaims, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.’ . . .

      “He went a little distance from them [His three disciples who had fallen asleep at the worst possible time, like most of us]—not so far but that they could both see and hear Him—and fell prostrate to the ground. He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The guilt was so broad, so black, so deep that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man’s sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression.

      “Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. His suffering can best be described in the word of the prophet, ‘Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the Man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts.’ Zechariah 13: 7. As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.

      “As Christ felt the His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness. In the Wilderness of Temptation the destiny of the human race had been at stake. Christ was then conqueror. Now [in the Garden of Gethsemane] the tempter had come for the last fearful struggle.  For this he had been preparing during the three years of Christ’s ministry. Everything was at stake with him. If he failed here, his hope of mastery was lost; the kingdom of the world would finally become Christ’s; he himself would be overthrown and cast out [again!]. But if Christ could be overcome, the earth would become Satan’s kingdom, and the human race would be forever in his power. With the issues of the conflict before Him, Christ’ soul was filled with dread of separation from God. [Have we ever felt this way when committing sin?] Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan’s kingdom, and would nevermore be one with God.”

     “And what would be gained by this sacrifice? How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: The people [Jews] who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected You. They are seeking to destroy You, the foundation, the center and seal of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of Your own disciples, who has listened to Your instructions, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray You. One of Your most zealous of followers will deny You. All will forsake You. Christ’s whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible. Its measure was the guilt of His nation, of His accusers and betrayer, the guilt of the world lying in wickedness. The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ, and the sense of God’s wrath against sin was crushing Him.”  

     “The human heart longs for sympathy in suffering. This longing Christ felt to the very depths of His being. In the supreme agony of His soul He came to His disciples with a yearning desire to hear some words of comfort from those whom He had so often blessed and comforted, shielded in sorrow and distress. The One who had always words of sympathy for them was now suffering superhuman agony, and He longed to know that they were praying for Him and for themselves. How dark seemed the malignity of sinTerrible was the temptation to let the human race bear the consequences of its own guilt, while He stood innocent before God. If He could only know that His disciples understood and appreciated this, he would be strengthened.”- E. G. White, Desire of Ages, pp.685-688.

p. 690: “Just before He bent His footsteps to the garden, Jesus had said to His disciples, ‘All of you will be offended because of Me this night.’ They had given Him the strongest assurance that they would go with Him to prison and to death. And poor, self-confident Peter had added, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.’ Mark 2: 14, 27, 29. But the disciples trusted to themselves. They did not look to the mighty Helper as Christ had counseled them to do. [That’s why we fail in our humanity!]. Thus, when the Savior was most in need of their sympathy and prayers, they were found asleep. Even Peter was sleeping.

     “And John, the loving disciple who had leaned upon the breast of the Savior, was asleep. Surely, the love of John for his Master should have kept him awake. His earnest prayers should have mingled with those of his loved Savior in the time of His supreme sorrow.  The Redeemer had spent entire nights praying for His disciples, that their faith might not fail.  Should Jesus now put to James and John the question He had once asked them, ‘Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ they would not have ventured to answer, ‘We are able.’ Matt. 20: 22. [this Christ’s baptism of Gethsemane, not Calvary!].

      “The disciples awakened at the voice of Jesus, but they hardly knew Him, His face was so changed by anguish. . . . Again the Son of God was seized with superhuman agony, and fainting and exhausted, He staggered back to the place of His former struggle. His suffering was even greater than before. As the agony of soul came upon Him, ‘His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ The cypress and the palm were the silent witnesses to His anguish. From their leafy branches dropped heavy dew upon His stricken form, as if nature wept over its Author wrestling alone with the powers of darkness.”

     “A short time before, Jesus had stood like a mighty cedar, withstanding the storm of opposition that spent its fury on Him. Stubborn wills, and hearts filled with malice and subtlety, had driven in vain to confuse and overpower Him. He stood forth in divine majesty as the Son of God. Now He was like a reed beaten and bent by the angry storm. He had approached the consummation of His work a conqueror, having at each step gained the victory over the powers of darkness. As one already glorified, He had claimed oneness with God. In unfaltering accents He had poured out His songs of praise. He had spoke to His disciples in words of courage and tenderness. Now had come the hour of the power of darkness. Now His voice was heard on the still evening air, not in tones of triumph, but full of human anguish. The words of the Savior were borne to ears of the drowsy disciples, ‘O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’ [This should also be part of our prayer petitions!]

     “The first impulse of the disciples was to go to Him; but He had bidden them tarry there, watching unto prayer. When Jesus came to them, He found them sleeping. Again, He had felt a longing for the companionship, for some words from His disciples which would bring relief, and break the spell of darkness that well-nigh overpowered Him. But their eyes were heavy; ‘neither wist they what to answer Him.’ . . .  They saw His face marked with the bloody sweat of agony, and they were filled with fear. His anguish of mind they could not understand. ‘His visage was so marred more than any man, and form more than the sons of men.’ Isa. 52: 14.  [That tells us His humanity had to be more than any men or the sons of men, too!].

The moment when the fate and destiny of the world and humanity trembled in a balance

    “Turning away, Jesus sought again His retreat, and fell prostrate, overcome by the horror of great darknessThe humanity of the Son of God trembled in that trying hour. He prayed not now for His disciples that their faith might not fail, but for His own tempted agonizing soulThe awful moment had come—the moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balanceChrist might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty men. It was not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave men to perish in his iniquity. He might say, let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin [beginning with the first Adam], and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin, to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from the pale lips of Jesus, ‘O My Father, is this cup may not pass from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’

Christ’s baptism of blood was at Gethsemane, not Calvary

    “Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man.  He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself, that through Him perishing millions [not the whole world] may gain everlasting life.  He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation [atonement] of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission. [Again, this should be part of our prayers]: ‘If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’

     “Having made the decision, He fell dyingto the ground from which He had partially risen. Where now, were His disciples, to place their hands tenderly beneath the head of their fainting Master, and bathe that brow, marred more indeed than the sons of menThe Savior trod the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with Him. [Isa. 63: 3].

The time when the Father separated His beams of light, love, and glory from His Beloved Son

    “But God suffered with His SonAngels beheld the Savior’s agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals (like you and me] have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin.”

The whole universe intently watch the great crisis in the work of redemption at Gethsemane     

     “The worlds unfallen and the heavenly angels had watched with intense interest as the conflict drew to its close. Satan and his confederacy of evil, the legions of apostasy, watched intently this great crisis inn the work of redemption. The powers of good and evil waited to see what the answer would come to Christ’s thrice-repeated prayer. Angels had longed to bring relief to the divine sufferer, but this might not be. No way of escape was found for the Son God. [But the way of escape has been found for us in this great crisis in the work of redemption! 1 Cor. 10: 13]. In this awful crisis, when everything was at stake, when the mysterious cup trembled in the hand of the sufferer, the heavens opened, a light shone forth amid the stormy darkness of the crisis hour, and the mighty angel who stands in God’s presence [Gabriel], occupying the position from which Satan fell, came to the side of Christ. The angel came not to take the cup from Christ’s hand, but to strengthen Him to drink it, with the assurance of the Father’s love. He came to give power to the divine-human suppliant.”- E. G. White, Desire of Ages, “Gethsemane” chapter LXXIV. NOTE: Please read the whole chapter for yourself!

Q. What kind of human nature, starting with the sinless first Adam before the fall, Enoch the seventh patriarch who was the first mortal translated to heaven without tasting death, the patriarch Job who God called “a perfect and upright man,” Moses, “the meekest man on earth,” Abraham, “the friend of God” and “father of the faithful,” Elijah, the second mortal translated, the righteous John the Baptist, His own forerunner—would be able to bear the guilt and sins of all mankind? None of them whatsoever!

Only the super-special human nature of the second Adam could take on the superhuman work of redemption that required bearing and suffering the insufferable agony of the guilt of the sins of the whole world! Indeed, “Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” 1 Tim. 3: 16. “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1: 14.                                                     (Continued next week)