“He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him,
and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
Then he said to them,
‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
Stay here and keep watch with me.’”
Matthew 26:37-38 (NIV)
The title for our meditation today is a well worn phrase in the western world. Obviously what we mean when we use this expression is that we feel under some monumental burden that seems to be crushing the very life out of us.
This was especially the case with our Lord when He uttered the words of our verse. When we use the phrase we do not mean that the situation will actually take our lives—but in our Lord’s case He meant all of that and more. Some commentators say that Jesus was overwhelmed by amazement and great agitation, even surprise.
If Jesus could have laid down His weary head right then in the Garden of Gethsemane and breathed His last, it would have been so good. But the indescribable horrors that were to descend upon His head like a death shroud were the real reason for His strong words.
We cannot imagine nor can we put into words all of the hell that broke out over our beloved Lord as He endured the wrath of humanity. No one who dies in Christ will ever have the experience endured by Jesus that night.
This is the great blessing of being a follower of Jesus. All of the hell we deserve for our sins has been endured by our Saviour. He has paid the full price for our sin.
On Sunday April 5, 1857, C. H. Spurgeon preached a sermon on Romans 3:24 in which he said,
“At one tremendous draft of love
He drank damnation dry for all who believe in Him.”
So regardless of how a believer may suffer for their folly and sin in this life, there is no way their suffering will come close to the hell Jesus entered into that most singular day in all of history.
Christian friend, the next time you are in some valley of tears, and you are tempted to say, “The situation is killing me”, remember that is impossible for you. Because you live and believe in Jesus, you shall never die the second death. Nothing can possibly come near you that does not pass under the scrutiny of the One Who loved you and gave Himself for you.
As God’s child you are the apple of His eye. No earthly parent ever loved their children as God loves His people. No earthly parent has ever been so careful to protect and guide their child as our heavenly Father has done. Go on then in spite of how hard the road may seem—Jesus will never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).