Understanding Jesus’ Sacrifice

Matthew 26:36-46

Jesus journeyed into the deepest pit of despair hours before His crucifixion. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He repeatedly prayed for “the cup” to pass from Him (Matt. 26:39-44).

Christ was staring into a chalice of wrath and judgment that must have made His soul recoil (Isa. 51:17). Mankind had filled it with the most depraved deeds and thoughts that they could conceive. According to Scripture, Jesus Christ did not just die for our sin; He became our sin (2 Cor. 5:21). The holy, perfect Lamb of God took upon Himself all that was vile and dark.

Furthermore, Jesus knew the consequences of taking on mankind’s evil. God’s holiness prevented Him from being in the presence of sin. Therefore, the heavenly Father would have to separate Himself from the Son. Jesus had always enjoyed perfect oneness with God. To contemplate a wrenching rejection must have been terrifying and heartbreaking.

There was no question that Jesus would obey the will of God. He would become sin and be separated from the Father, if that’s what was required to save mankind. So, yes, in the garden, He pleaded for another route to our redemption. However, when it was clear that the Father’s answer was, No, this is the only way, Jesus obediently sacrificed Himself for us.

Jesus Christ sacrificed more than His life. He exchanged perfection for wickedness and holy union for separation. The Savior did this so we could be transformed into righteous men and women with an eternal future. No wonder all of heaven exalts Him (Rev. 5:11-14). We must do the same.

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