In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In previous weeks we’ve been looking at how Christ was humbled in order to bring us eternal life. We’ve seen that Christ was humiliated throughout his life on earth and also by his death which involved Judas’ betrayal, the disciples’ desertion, the world’s rejection, the condemnation of Pilate and the torment of his persecutors. This week I want to show that Jesus was humbled by begging for the wrath of God to be removed.
To beg someone not to punish you is a humbling experience. It is saying that you are completely vulnerable and unable to help yourself. You need the other person to raise you or you will remain in a low position.
Jesus also experienced what it feels like to beg someone not to punish him. As the lamb of God, Jesus was called to bear the punishment of others. Jesus knew that this is what he was to do and it troubled him. So much so that before his death, Jesus begged that he would not have to experience the cup of God’s wrath.
Matthew records: ‘Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping…He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing’ (Matthew 26:36-44). Luke also records the experience of Christ at this time: ‘And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground’ (Luke 22:44). With details like these, you could never say that this was an insignificant event for Christ.
Clearly Jesus is accepting a humbling at this time. Instead of his will being done, he is having to admit that the will of God will be done. Such an admission is always a humiliating experience as you must bow the knee to God and admit his sovereignty.
So why would Jesus humble himself by allowing this to happen? Because of our sin we deserve to be humiliated for eternity in hell. But thankfully Jesus takes the eternal humility we deserve so we can have eternal glory instead. This eternal glory comes by trusting that Jesus was humiliated for you, even by the need to beg for God’s wrath to be removed.
Do you trust in Christ’s humiliation for you so that you will have eternal glory in heaven?