Matthew Chapter 26
I was asked recently by a non-Christian why it was such a big deal that Jesus died on a cross. While His physical torment was brutal, many others during that time met a similar fate. Thousands of people died on crosses during that time. What made Jesus different?
Look at how He anticipates His suffering. In the physician Luke’s account of this same event (Luke 22:43-44), we see that He is moved to the point of sweating blood—a condition called hematidrosis, experienced only under the most extreme stress and fear. Jesus was absolutely tormented by the thought of going to the cross… why?
After Jesus died, many of His followers cheerfully met their deaths for God. They didn’t cry or sweat blood, they sang hymns as they burned to death or were torn apart by animals. They considered it joy to die for God. So why do we see Jesus reacting with such terror? Did He have less faith, less joy in dying for God than His friends?
Or did Jesus know that His torment was not about the physical pain?
Jesus, the manifestation of the living God, was not sweating blood because He was afraid to have His body beaten. He knew that He was about to bear the weight of all the sin in the world, be separated from the Father for the first time ever, and destroy the plans of hell. He knew that His death meant more than His heart no longer beating. He was about to take on the greatest, bravest, and most horrifically painful mission of all time—taking the keys to sin and death, enduring every punishment for every sinner so that we would never for a second have to taste the pain of separation from our Father.
THAT is why Jesus was distraught. THAT is why the death of Jesus on the cross is different than every other death. In this precious passage, we see our perfect Jesus about to feel every wound intended for us because He so desired union with His children.
Meditate on that rapturous love today. Nothing—not death or hell or suffering—could keep Jesus from you.