“In the days of His flesh He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.”
What was it that provoked the intense emotions that poured from Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane? Was it the awareness that He would soon suffer acute pain, that His physical being would be assailed by fists, whips, thorns, spears and nails? Even though He was God Incarnate, in His capacity as the Son of Man, enduring pain was his fate. We know one of the prayers He offered up was,
My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.
Was it only the physical pain that prompted His petition? As a sinless human, Jesus was not blinded as we are to the unseen, eternal realities. Jesus lived completely aware that either eternal glory or catastrophe awaited every soul. He longed to deliver captives from their heavy burdens of sin and religion. He saw how disease wracked men with pain and disability and ultimately claimed their bodies. I believe Jesus’ loud crying and tears were also born from seeing clearly the open and potentially fatal wound sin inflicted on His beloved creation.
In pondering Jesus’ agony and tears, I see, rolling toward Him in the Garden, a wave, growing in its power as it collects all the horror and filth of sins past, present and future. I can see Christ in the Garden with His clear vision of the unseen, watching this tsunami approach, knowing that when it finally breaks and crashes down on him, He will be crushed by the weight of man’s accumulated depravity. His pain will be intensified by his acute awareness that he came to absorb this very same wrath for those who would reject him – the One who created them and loved them and the only One who could rescue them.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
Jesus knew the suffering that comes from seeing; the more you see the more you suffer. As children of the light, He grants those who are willing to share some of his burden, an increasing awareness of the hold that darkness has on us and those around us. Check out 2 Cor 1:5 and Phil 3:10. But its not just the power of darkness He wants us to see; it is the overwhelming superiority of Light. He is the Light of this world!
Suffering is a mystery from which we have not been exempted. Instead we are called to endure it and to learn from it. It is not meant to crush us as it did Him. It is meant to draw us to him and to teach us to abide in him. If He permits the suffering-of-seeing to touch us, it is His invitation to partner with Him by way of our prayers and petitions (definitely not our judgements). He knows we cannot carry this. He desires that we live in a continual state of dependency upon Him, casting this burden, which He has exposed us to, always back upon Him. Its a dynamic partnership.
Father, in these brief days of our flesh, may we see and may we offer up, with passionate tears, our prayers and petitions to You – the One who has saved us from death, knowing that we have been heard because of Your piety. Amen.
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Phil 3:10-11