A few weeks ago, my son contracted pink eye aka conjunctivitis. His left eye was bloodshot, irritated, and itchy and he was incessantly rubbing it. We stopped off at the drugstore and got some topical eye drops that contained a soothing anesthetic. When we got home, I had my son lie down and I positioned the bottle over his left eye. As I held his eyelids open, he looked at me and said, “Daddy, I’m scared.”
I was shocked by his statement. My son is effervescent, always happy with a broad smile on his face. To see him exhibit fear, an emotion I rarely ever see him express, disturbed me. I stopped what I was doing and reassured him over the next few minutes that it would only hurt a little and then he would feel better. After a few moments, his trust in me was reassured and he allowed me to put the medicine in his eye.
And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Sometimes I do not appreciate that Jesus was fully man and fully God. He was God. He taught and brought divine insight to Scripture like no other else who had ever lived. He performed miracles that only God could perform. And He conquered death through His resurrection.
But Jesus was also fully man and was not hindered in expressing His emotions. Although we see many different faces of Jesus in the Gospels, it is the times when He expresses His emotions that move us like no other experience. We feel the sadness that Jesus felt as He wept outside the tomb of His friend Lazarus. We sense the anger and disdain that He felt as He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and drove them out with a whip in the temple of Jerusalem. And in this passage, Dr. Luke records with intimate and raw detail, the agony and emotional intensity that Jesus Christ experienced just before His arrest and crucifixion. We share in the intense spiritual, emotional and physical agony that Jesus experienced before His betrayal.
Just as any unexpected emotion that I witness from my son disturbs me, seeing Jesus in such agony disturbs me far more. I cannot begin to imagine the horror that He felt as He was separated from God, the Father, for the first time in His life and experienced the full weight of our sin upon Himself as He hung on the Cross.
I would be scared. But Jesus accepted the suffering so that He could conquer death for all of us.
Praise to Jesus Christ, the Living and Loving God!