Yet it pleased God to bruise Him. – Isaiah 53:10.
Sorrowful unto death, under the burden of God’s wrath and curse, Jesus withdrew from His disciples, and went about a stone’s cast farther into the garden, and falling upon His face, He prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.
He said: “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” And He came to His disciples; and He found them sleeping. And He said to Peter: “Simon, sleepest thou? Couldst thou not watch with Me one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit, indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
And He left them again and prayed, saying: “O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” And He arose from prayer and returned to His disciples. And again He found them sleeping for sorrow; for their eyes were heavy, neither did they know what to answer Him.
And He left them, and prayed the same words for the third time. God did not remove the cup of suffering from Him; but He sent an angel from heaven and strengthened Jesus. In His deep humiliation, Christ, the Creator, received strength from one of His creatures! And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat fell down to the ground like great drops of blood. And He came to His disciples the third time and said: “Sleep on now and take your rest; it is enough.” He was now fully resolved. And He added: “Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. Behold, he is at hand that doth betray Me.”
No pen can describe, no tongue can utter, no reason can comprehend what cup of suffering it was which our Savior drank for us starting in that hour. Unfathomable, inconceivable sufferings of body and soul when He was forsaken by God and endured the torments of hell on the cross! But it was for us and our salvation that the Savior drained that cup, in order that we might be saved from it—that the heavenly Father might most graciously turn to us poor sinners and embrace and comfort us in life and death.
PRAYER. – O Heavenly Father, who for my sake didst forsake Thy dear Son, and didst deliver Him into the utmost anguish and agony of soul, restore to me the joy of Thy salvation and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Hide Thy face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities, since Thy Son, my dear Lord, did bear them for me. From Thy Word and through Thy Holy Spirit make me to hear joy and gladness, that my heart may rejoice. Nevermore forsake me, but comfort me with Thy mighty love in life and death. I ask this for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting His distress;
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.
Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ’s the Rock of our salvation,
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.
Hymn 153, 2. 4 (TLH)