The Cross He Bore – Prayerful Submission

This is day two of our thirteen-day trek through Frederick Leahy’s The Cross He Bore. Today Leahy looks to Jesus’ words of submission to the Father. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 26:39).

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How clearly the true humanity of Christ is seen in Gethsemane, more so than in much of our standard dogmatics! For evangelicals are so concerned to defend the deity of Christ, and rightly so, that often they hardly know how to handle his humanity! Here, in Gethsemane, we see the sinless, finite humanity of Christ in deep and terrible distress. Calvin said that Christ had horror at the prospect of death because “he had before his eyes the dreadful tribunal of God, and the judge himself armed with inconceivable vengeance; and because our sins, the load of which was laid upon him, pressed him down with their enormous weight. There is no reason to wonder, therefore, if the dreadful abyss of destruction tormented him grievously with fear and anguish.” Yes, fear and anguish; but, unlike the experience of all others, it was fear untainted by sin. It was Ambrose who said, “He grieved for me, who had no cause of grief for himself; and, laying aside the delights of the eternal Godhead, he experiences the affliction of my weakness.”

In Gethsemane it was never a question whether the Saviour would obey or disobey. In Eden God asked, “Adam, where are you?” In a sense the question was repeated in Gethsemane and this Adam did not try to hide; he had no need to; his whole response was clearly, “Here am I!”