Matt ch26 v1-4
God’s timing was perfect, this was God’s chosen time in His plan for Christ to die. Many families came from all over Israel carrying their lambs upon their shoulders to be sacrificed at Jerusalem. Christ was the antitype to which the Passover lamb had always referred (God promised Abraham He would provide a Lamb). Christ had always been aware of this time; He had also been able to avoid His enemies’ plots to kill Him. But now it was His time to be handed over to sinful men; it was time for the perfect Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sin of the world. Nothing would prevent this event, not even the plots of the religious leaders who planned to kill Him after the Passover feast. God’s timing is always right and perfect. The Passover commemorated God’s rescue of His people from slavery in Egypt and, in particular, the Sacrifice of the Passover Lamb to protect them from death.
Jesus is the only one who can rescue us from the slavery of sin and Satan, and can protect you from the terror and fear of death.
From the upper room over the brook Kidron to the Garden of Gethsemane
Matt ch26 v 36-46
One commentator has pointed out that, on the way to Gethsemane, Jesus would have crossed over the Kidron brook. He says this brook would have been red with the blood of the Passover lambs that had already been slain; Jesus would have noticed this. Soon, the blood of God’s Passover lamb would be shed for many.
In the garden, Jesus prayed three times alone, without comfort from His disciples, knowing that His hour of unspeakable darkness would overshadow Him.
‘Sorrowful and deep distress, exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.’ In v38 Jesus craved human companionship and support during His anguish; but v39 is holy ground when as it gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ intimate relationship with His Father and the sobering cost of His mission. This was a prayer under tremendous spiritual stress, it was an intimate prayer as Jesus used the (Aramaic) word ‘Abba’ to address God, His Father. This name is still used today by Jewish children in the home to address their father (our equivalent is ‘daddy’).
Anguish and Distress
The full cost and reality of Jesus’ mission was crushing Him; within hours the full cup of divine fury against sin would be His to drink. A cup in the Old Testament is often the symbol of divine wrath against sin; Jesus would have to endure it. The name ‘Gethsemane’ refers to an olive orchard and an olive press; Jesus was going to be severely pressed on all sides for our sin.
In Isaiah ch53 v5 we are told Jesus was ‘wounded’, He was ‘bruised’, or ‘crushed’. These words are the strongest terms used to describe a violent and agonizing death. He suffered as our substitute to bear our sin and punishment, and to satisfy God’s wrath.
‘With His stripes we are healed.’ This does not refer to the Roman scourging – the literal meaning is ‘bruised’ and refers to the stroke of divine judgment inflicted upon Him. The healing we receive is because of the divine stroke to which He suffered.
Luke ch22 v43-44
So intense was Jesus’ agony that it resulted in His sweat and blood mixing; so intense was His suffering that God sent an angel to strengthen Him. Arrested by a detachment of troops, officers, and the captain of the temple guard (Mk ch14 v65), they bound Him, after He was betrayed by a kiss (Mk ch14 vs44-45).
Traditionally, the kiss on the cheek was the one that showed the closest love and affection toward a teacher or a pupil. Judas could not have shown a more despicable way to identify and betray Jesus; He ?prevented? the true meaning of a kiss so treacherously and hypocritically. This form of a kiss spoke of respect, affection and love, but Judas’ heart was full of greed and love for money, more than for Christ (Ps ch41 v9). How many are betraying the blessed Saviour today for greed and money.
So they bound Jesus and led Him away to the High Priest, Caiaphas (Mk ch14 v53-65). Trial by night was illegal, setting up false witnesses was despicable and unjust – His trials were a sham! Here they ask Him a direct question: “are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” (v61), and Jesus gave a direct answer, ‘I am’. This was the reply they could not bear. How many today hate and despise the same words of Jesus Christ?
In Mk ch14 v 65, we are told that ‘some began to spit at Him, they blindfolded Him, struck Him with their fists, and said “Prophesy”.’ Jesus prophesied this would happen (Mk ch10 v33-34), Jesus had already told His disciples this would happen. So they took Him out into the courtyard of the High Priest and began to abuse Him; they mocked Him, His ministry and person and they tried to shame Him by spitting in His face. This is one of the oldest forms of insult, to spit is to show spite. They could not spit in His face until they bound Him and blindfolded Him. Isaiah ch50 v6-7 gives us more detail of His suffering – they pulled out the hairs from His face; they put Him bound and in darkness so they could unleash the vile treatment which came from their own darkened, desperately wicked hearts.
Horatius Bonnar’s Hymn
‘Twas I that shed the sacred blood,
I nailed Him to the tree.
I crucified the Christ of God,
I joined the mockery.
Of all that shouting multitude,
I feel that I am one;
And in that din of voices rude,
I recognize my own.
Around the cross the throng I see,
Mocking the sufferer’s groan;
Yet still my voice it seems to be
As if I mocked alone.