The Cross to the Grave, Part V – The Father’s Will

Imagine knowing your future. Jesus knew and taught His disciples “. . . the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected . . . and killed, . . . and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31) The knowledge of His impending suffering caused Jesus great anguish. He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and confided in three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” (Matthew 26:38)

Then Jesus walked ahead a short distance, fell on His face and prayed three times: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Again, for the second time, he . . . prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And the third time, saying the same words again. (See Matthew 26:39, 42, 44; Mark 14:32-39; Luke 22:42)

What is the cup Jesus spoke about? It certainly included His suffering and death, but more importantly Christ endured God’s wrath against the sins of all humankind. The cup came from the Father (John 18:11). Because of His love for the Father and His obedience to the Father’s will, Jesus not only bore our sins but rose from the grave three days later, proclaiming victory over death and making a way for our sins to be forgiven and for our spirit to be reconciled with God and reunited with God after our physical death. This is the Father’s will. 

1 Peter 2:22-24 “He [Jesus] committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

NEXT: The Cross to the Grave, Part VI – Parting Words

The Cross to the Grave, Part III – Forsaken

The fourth time Jesus spoke from the cross he cried in a loud voice “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (See Matthew 27:45-46 and Mark 15:33-34)

Forsaken. It means totally abandoned, deserted. His cry was as alarming as the darkness blanketing the land. Many standing nearby misunderstood his words. But a Jew would know Jesus was quoting the beginning of Psalm 22 written by David. 

The psalm begins with a cry of anguish, but quickly turns to a proclamation of trust in God. Then David’s words become prophetic. Similarities to the sufferings of Jesus are found throughout. Towards the end of the psalm David praises the Lord and speaks of a future when all will worship Christ the Lord.

Psalm 22 may help us imagine how Christ suffered. Being both fully God and fully human, he suffered physically, as a man, and also emotionally from false accusations, ridicule, and betrayal. But the forsakenness He experienced is unique to Him alone; a type of spiritual agony which human hearts cannot comprehend. Our Lord and Savior surrendered to God’s wrath against all human sin, for all time (2 Corinthians 5:21). Creation manifested the burden placed on our creator God – the sun failed (Luke 23:45) and the earth shuddered (Matthew 27:51).

Did God truly forsake Jesus on the cross, even for a few hours? Was the abandonment physical or spiritual or both? The answer seems beyond the reach of human understanding, but the prayers of Jesus shortly before His death assure us the bond between the Father and the Son was never broken. 

Next Post: The Cross to the Grave, Part IV – Prayers to the Father