Monday, March 26
Scripture for the Day: Philippians 1
One of the most emotionally engaging portions of Scripture involves an event that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before Jesus’ betrayal. The immediacy of what our Lord soon was to experience drove Him to agonizing prayer, alone at night, while His closest disciples slept.
Luke 8:31-33 tell us that Jesus knew the details of His impending suffering, right down to the mocking, scourging and killing. But were these, admittedly significant and daunting in themselves, the sole (or even primary) reason for His great struggle to submit to the will of the Father? I suggest that they were not. No, something far deeper, something far more significant, lay behind the agony.
Jesus did not suffer and die so that we might avoid pain and physical death; the issue was and is far more than this. He died (and rose again) so we might avoid the second death: separation from God. I believe that what Jesus so agonized concerning was this impending separation and that it loomed largest in his soul and mind.
Think of it – The Trinitarian relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the nature and intimacy of which we can neither fathom nor explain, which had existed from eternity past, is now broken, torn apart because our sins were laid on the sinless One. Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?!” indicates the depth of His feeling of God-forsakenness. It was during those three hours of darkness that Jesus experienced Hell for us so we need not do the same. It was the anticipation of this part of His purchase of our salvation that caused His greatest pain in the Garden.
William Farley, Assistant Professor of Old Testament
We praise you Jesus because you were willing to go to the extent of being separated from the Father to save us. We will never know all that you endured on the cross. We are glad we can receive your gift of salvation and be your faithful disciples!