There is a story about two young brothers around the age of 10 and 11. They were always getting into trouble around the community. There wasn’t a day that would go by that these two young boys wouldn’t find something to get themselves into......After many talks and many spanks the father was at the point that he didn’t know what to do! He followed what the word of God said.....but still nothing changing in their behaviour. Then one day like clockwork! It happened again. His sons got into trouble and dad knew, and they knew it was time for another spanking........but dad did something that he never done before......he called his sons into the living room, paused for a moment and said to his sons...”you don’t seem to care about how this hurts me and your mother......the spankings don’t seem to be working, when I ground you or take things away you don’t seem to care”.........Another pause and dad said “So I’m not going to spank you or do anything!” Both brothers looked at each other and smiled until dad said “I’m not done, there is something else I want you boys to do! I want you to spank me as if I was spanking you for this punishment.” Both sons looked at each other thinking is dad serious...is he joking......Both sons were confused! So the older son said “you want us to spank you for our misbehaviour?” Dad replied “yes!” They refused and then dad’s voice got a little louder...and said “you will do what I asked.” Again both sons refused and dad said “you must!” So both sons took a paddle and then one after another they smacked their fathers backside as tears rolled down their faces........But as they spanked their father something made them stop! They saw tears rolling down their fathers cheeks.....They asked their father “why did you make us do this. We are so sorry?” The dad replied as he wipes away the tears from his eyes “I wanted you see how much your sin and disobedience grieves me.” But dad they asked “why did you take our punishment for something we did”........There was another pause and he answered “because I love you and you need to understand that I’m willing to do whatever it takes for you to see that your sins hurt not only yourselves but those who love you dearly.” Do we realize that this is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ did on our behalf! Jesus Christ took our place because we are no different than those two boys in that story. Jesus Christ took my shame and punishment so that I could be forgiven by a God who loves us and desires us to follow Him; He became our substitute which brings me the greatest of all the gifts that I’ve talked about for the past few weeks! This gift means the most to me...........Why? For without this gift all the other gifts are useless they have no power or value.......Jesus took my cup! Turn to Mark 14! We must not enter this passage of scripture casually...we are trending on holy ground this morning! We are entering the garden of Gethsemane or as C J Mahaney calls it “we are entering the garden that reminds me of my sin.”. Look at (v33-v34) For the first time in Jesus’ ministry He is greatly distressed. It wasn’t that Jesus never experienced grief or distress over sin and death. It was the fact he was becoming sin for us! When Jesus wept over Lazarus it wasn’t over his death.....it was over the power of sin and death over mankind. Why was Jesus so distressed or grieved even to the point of dying? Jesus knew he was closer at that moment then he was the day before. That ordained appointment of death was finally here! He was about to bear the wrath of almighty God. Sadly many people today take this passage of scripture to prove the non-deity of Christ. The pagan Celsus used this question in his writings as an argument against Christianity! He said “how can one who is divine mourn and lament and fear to escape the fear of death.” The answer is simple and it’s found in the Scriptures!
1. JESUS KNEW THAT DEATH IS THE WAGE OF SIN........“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 6:23. Jesus knew that he would pay the total wage of sin in full.
2. JESUS KNEW THAT DEATH IS A RESULT OF THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD ........“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Rom 5:12. Jesus knew he would be that judgement
3. JESUS KNEW HE WOULD BECOME SIN......“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor 5:21
4. JESUS KNEW THAT DEATH WOULD BRING ON HIM THE WRATH OF GOD.........“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin,....” Isa 53:10. Jesus knew that he would bear the full wrath of God
5. JESUS KNEW HE WOULD BE OUR PROPITIATION.......“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10. What John is saying? He is saying that without Jesus we are one breath away from facing the wrath of a holy God.
Propitiation by definition is “To make peace; to appease one offended and render him favourable”. Vines dictionary defines it in this way: “It is God who is "propitiated" by the vindication of His holy and righteous character, whereby, through the provision He has made in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ, He has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and the remission of his sins. God must punish sin because He hates sin. We will never fully understand what Jesus was feeling at that moment....because His distress and anguish is a million times greater then what we will experience here in this life. His burden was the weight of the world’s sin...not just at that time in history but from the beginning of the world to the end of the world. Jesus was beginning to feel the weight of all humanity’s sin. This pending death that is grievous to Jesus that it almost kills Him in the garden! This event in history is so overwhelming it brings Jesus to the point of asking the Father this question....(v35-v36a). So the next obvious question would be! What’s in the this cup that Jesus is so distressed over? God's righteousness, justice, hatred of sin, holiness, authority, the wrath of God for the sins of the earth past, present, and future. It's interesting to note! In his book “Attributes of God” Arthur Pink said this profound statement “A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; And because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner.” As the Psalmist said “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.” Ps 7:11. This is what was in the cup. This is why Jesus was asking the Father if there was another way to fulfill His wrath.......Please tell me! This is where we need to pay close attention to as we read this historical account of Jesus in the garden...........Heaven is silent.....God the Father is silent! Jesus is left feeling a deep loneliness...that same kind of loneliness He felt on the Cross for those 3 hours.....If there were any other way....an alternative! The Father would have provided it as He did for Abraham when he went to slay his son.......Jesus is left with His answer.......NO!............... This is the only way to appease a holy God. Jesus got His answer by the Father’s silence. It was almost like Jesus was becoming repulsive to the Father as He was becoming sin for us. The silence must have been deafening to Jesus in the garden.....that sense of being forsaken by the intimate relationship He has with the Father.....R.C. Sproul said “from the moment of His birth, Jesus lived in the shadow of the cross. It was clearly established that Jesus was destined to die a horrible death, not simply in terms of human pain, but because He would die as a sacrifice, under the wrath of God. Jesus, even in His perfect humanity, shrank back at the utter horror of it and so cries out to His Father to remove this cup from Him.” There is only one way to reconcile us back to the Father......He must take our cup! This is how serious our sin is to a holy and righteous God. Even though Jesus asked if there was another way to fulfill His wrath.....there was something more important to Jesus despite this pending, ordained dome..... His only desire was to do the Father’s perfect will! (v36b).......Remember what He said to His disciples “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:38-40. He did this by obeying God to the very end! Even if it meant facing the almighty wrath of God on our behalf. He came to take my cup...your cup......our cup! When you read this passage you begin to ask yourself! The same question the two young boys asked their father! Why are you doing this? I doing this because you are an anathema (abomination) to God the Father! Why are you here in the garden? Because of your sin! Our only way home or forgiveness is that Jesus must bare my sin...your sin.....the world’s sin....This very moment in history, our lives hang in the balance of what Jesus Christ is about to endure on our behalf! He took my wrath that I deserve. He bore my shame and agony. He said I will take your punishment for your crime against the Father. Christ in all His humanity “the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature . . . . ............went to Cross for you and me.....”Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe...” As the Hebrew writer said “When He had made purification (cleanse us) of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Though He faced this moment in garden alone! Never doubt for a moment that despite the distress...agony........... and shame.........He did all this with joy! “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2. What is the perfect gift God could ever give to us at Christmas.......................His Son! Jesus Christ!