Third Sunday in Lent – Sunday
He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. – II Corinthians 5:21.
Now they came to Gethsemane. Gethsemane was a garden where olive trees were grown. It was at the foot of the Mount of Olives, toward Jerusalem. Upon arriving at the gate, Jesus said to His disciples: “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder” (Matthew 26:36).
And He took with Him Peter, and James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. And He began to be sorrowful and greatly amazed and sorely troubled. And He said: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (v. 38a). And He told the three disciples: “Tarry ye here and watch with Me” (v. 38b).
But why was Jesus, the very Fount of joy, so sorrowful in His soul? Why was the almighty Lord amazed (alarmed)? Why was He sorely troubled, when He had entered the deadly fray so willingly, so exultantly confident of victory? Why did the sorrow of death, of eternal death, come over Him? Why did the Source of Divine Comfort now seek comfort and support with His poor disciples?
The hour was now at hand in which the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world, began His intense suffering as the Substitute for all mankind. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us. God poured out on Him all the wrath and curse which the world had incurred. In Gethsemane His heavenly Father sent an angel to strengthen Him, but God would soon forsake Him utterly on the cross and withhold from Him all consolation. The Savior was in His deepest humiliation. Can you comprehend this? No? But so it was. So it was, in truth and reality. Rejoice and thank God for this! For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21), and be rid of wrath and curse, of death and damnation, and be glad and rejoice, be of good cheer and exult, and be blessed forever.
Avail yourself of Christ’s suffering, O Christian, in firm faith.
PRAYER. – My sin, my curse, my condemnation, my sorrowing and trembling, yes my eternal grief, Thou didst, O my Lord, take upon Thee. Therefore I rejoice and heartily give thanks to Thee. Indeed, I am now righteous before God in Thee; God loves and blesses me for Thy sake; God grants me comfort and joy and eternal blessedness because of Thy work in my behalf. O my Lord and Savior, grant me a rich measure of Thy Holy Spirit, working through Thy Word, that I may more and more grasp and take and keep what God so graciously gives me for Thy sake. Amen.
Christ, the Life of all the living,
Christ, the Death of death, our foe;
Who Thyself for me once giving,
to the darkest depths of woe;
through Thy sufferings, death, and merit, I eternal life inherit;
thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus, unto Thee.
(Hymn 151, st. 1; TLH)
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