By retired Seventh-day Adventist Pastor, Ian Cotton
As Christians we tend to think, and tell others, that the most important event in Jesus’ life was when He died on Calvary’s cross. But when Jesus, as a man, was in the garden of Gethsemane He prayed, three times, “Not My will but your will be done.” He made His decision then to save the human race at any cost to Himself, and the rest, as they say, “Is history!”
With Peter, James, and John, He entered Gethsemane. He went a little distance from them and fell prostrate upon the ground. He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. As man, He must suffer the consequences of man’s sin. As man, He must endure the wrath of God against sin.
The humanity of the Son of God trembled in that trying hour. He prayed for His own tempted, agonized soul. The awful moment had come – that moment which was to decide the destiny of you and me and of the world.
Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin, to save the guilty? The words fall trembling from the pale lips of Jesus, “O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” Three times His humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice.
He sees that the transgressors of the law, that is you and me, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power and result of sin. His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through His death all may gain everlasting life.
He who knew no sin bore the iniquity of us all. So dreadful does sin appear to Him, so great is the weight of guilt which He must bear, that He fears it will shut Him out forever from His Father’s love.
Judas the betrayer did not forget the part he was to act. For thirty pieces of silver – the price of a slave – he sold the Lord of glory. He led the soldiers, and the mob, closely followed by the high priest and identified Jesus with a kiss.
Peter drew his sword to defend his Master, cutting off an ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus released His hands, and touched the wounded ear, and it was instantly made whole. Jesus said to Peter, “Put away your sword:” He added, “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled?” “The cup which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”
After being arrested Jesus was taken to Pilate for trial who told Him that, “I have power to crucify Thee, and have power to release Thee.” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me, except it were given from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto you has the greater sin.”
Jesus was scourged and made to carry His cross to Calvary where they crucified Him.” Jesus died, “That He might sanctify the people with His own blood.” The spotless Son of God hung upon the cross, His flesh lacerated; those hands so often reached out in blessing, nailed to the wooden bars; those feet so tireless on ministries of love, spiked to the tree; that royal head pierced by the crown of thorns.
And all that He endured – the blood that flowed from His head, His hands, His feet; the agony that racked His frame, and the unutterable anguish that filled His soul at the hiding of His Father’s face – speaks to all, declaring, it is for you that the Son of God bore your sins; for you He opens the gates of Paradise.
He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for our sake becomes sin itself. For sin (1 John 3:4) is the transgression of the law of God. Jesus received the wages of sin (Rom.6:23)- death – for each of us. And He offers to us all, as a free gift, eternal Life.
Today, with a realization of Jesus’ love for you, why not invite Him to be your Saviour?