He died that we may live

Friends in Christ,  
When Our Lord was in the bloody sweat of the Agony in the Garden, anticipating his Passion, he asked his Father if it were possible, that the cup of suffering would pass by – He was not asking to be spared death, because he had already committed himself to it at the Last Supper: ‘this is my Body, given up for you,’ he said.  Nor did Christ wish to avoid the physical suffering and torments and nailing which he knew would happen.  It was more than that.   

As Frank Sheed says in his book,[i] many other people had suffered the same or worse crucifixion or torture, but the agony of Jesus, no other person ever suffered. Isaiah said it: ‘He was wounded for our iniquities and bruised for our sin. The Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.’[ii]  

Jesus took upon himself not only the suffering that our sins deserved, in we who commit them, but he also took to himself all the sorrow that sinners ought to feel, and did not feel, for their many and sins.  That, as Sheed says, was the heart of his agony.  He took upon himself the guilt we should all have, the sorrow for sin.  “Him, who knew no sin, he has made sin for us,  that we might be made the justice of God in him.’   

Who, since the creation of the world could ever handle that? The pain that we feel when we do something very wrong, when we hurt someone –  Jesus takes all that pain for our faults, and sadly, the pain for the sins that we never thought twice about. He takes it all upon himself.  

This great act of Redemption was foretold in the desert: ‘And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.’  

This is a prophecy of the events of Good Friday. It was reiterated by Christ:  “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.”  
Lord Jesus, thank you, for dying for me; thank you for dying for this sinner, that I may live.


[i] To Know Christ Jesus, p. 349

[ii] Isaiah 53:4

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