TOPIC:“The Critical Struggle Within Christ's Soul”
"He...began to be sorrowful and very depressed. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matthew 26:37& 38)
One is left with the impression after a thorough investigation of the passion week, that Jesus was moving courageously and majestically towards His coming death on the cross. And not only moving in that direction, but preparing Himself for that occasion. Was not the selection of the colt, the anointing by Mary, the institution of the Last Supper, the breaking of bread, the prophecy of Peter's denial and the prediction of Judas' betrayal, all pointing directly towards the cross and His coming death?
And now we have before us in the passion narrative, the great struggle which is raging within the soul of our Lord as He comes to Gethsemane. Matthew describes the soul of Jesus as being “exceeding sorrowful” (v. 38). The NIV has it: "overwhelmed with grief." The NLT renders it: "Crushed with sorrow." This expression indicates the mental distress, the physical pain, and spiritual anguish which came upon His soul.
It was here in the Garden of Gethsemane, that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, in excruciating pain tied Himself eternally to the will of God. For mind you, Christ was not entering the Garden for secret prayer as He had so often done before, but for scourging pain when He engaged Himself in the greatest battle of all - the battle against sin. Is it any wonder that Frederic W. Farrar, in his classic books on the life of Christ, writes: “Gethsemane is a mystery into which no footsteps may fully penetrate.”
There is divine truth in that statement! Gethsemane was located east of Jerusalem at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The word literally means "an oil press." It was a field covered with olive trees and oil presses were used to extract the oil from the olives. Let us now go to Gethsemane for our study and there examine the soul of Jesus as He faces His coming death on the cross.
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