When we see Jesus in the garden sweating great drops of sweat as he contemplates the coming cross, we hear his words “Father, if it be possible, take this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done”.
There has been some postulation that he was speaking about the possibility of him dying in the garden, as he began to enter into the process of what the cross meant. This was said on the basis of him “not being a coward”, meaning that he was not seeking to avoid the cross, but that he was concerned about himself entering into death at that time, in the garden, perhaps dying there instead of in public view.
The truth would appear to be that the great stress he was under, was the result of him knowing that once he entered into the inner conflict of flesh and spirit, that he would be unable to understand what was going on. That once having entered into man’s position as being separated from God, the darkness involved would cloud his vision of his Father, such that he would experience the trauma of this separation, yet be unable to understand why it had occurred. There is no cowardice attached to this, it is simply that what he perceived was so repugnant to him that he had to state the obvious, that if there was any other way, then that would be preferable.
But there was no other way, reality is reality, and the human form with which he was “saddled”, could only recover through the reality of righteousness dispelling unrighteousness. Yes he could have aborted the mission. But as he himself had said, it was for this very reason he came into the world. Everything about him had led him to this place. He had to destroy death within himself to demonstrate the effect of God’s love on corruption, that love is able to overcome death, and that by the Spirit which came out of his resurrection, he would be able to restore all those who believed in him.
Just as we may be separated from God, so he also became separated by the activity of man’s flesh [human nature] with which he was now engaged. The dark cloud of conflict resulted in his cry from the cross of “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”. He was in the state he had foreseen in the garden, that of confusion as to why he now was not feeling his Father’s love. This is the position that unredeemed man is in. Separated from God and unable to feel his love. Yet Jesus knew this love, but was no longer able to sense it.
It is said the “wrath of God” was on him, just as it “is on us”. But, like us, it was not that God did not love either him OR us, it was that the inner corruption of his and our being simply registered unrighteousness in the face of righteousness, which gave rise to the conflict of guilt and vulnerability. Whenever righteousness meets unrighteousness there will be a conflict in which true righteousness will overpower unrighteousness. The cross was where Jesus overpowered death and disempowered it, proving that God’s loving purpose and intention was unshaken towards his creation.
Death corrupted man’s heart. It is the physical death we see all around us [and the result of its impact] that corrupts our essential thinking. Our “heart”, which is our basic seat of truth and emotional response, has been reprogrammed by death, away from the connection with God that it [we] had.
Our heart says, “How can there be a God of love if he allows death?” [And how can he be loving me if I am doomed to die?]. To remove the corruption you have to remove the death. Redemption becomes a life giving Spirit.
“That by his death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the diabolos”. “For this reason the son of God came, that he might destroy the works of the devil”. To destroy the diabolos you destroy his power by enacting the death “he demands”.
The false personality built up around the diabolos resulted from fear of death. Jesus died the death demanded by this inner diabolos, he destroyed it in himself, and thereby destroyed his power, his “kingdom”.
Since love and principally God’s love destroys corruption for us, recognition of his reality at work in Christ, promises us the same life and freedom from death. By accepting the Spirit of life that Christ is, we are really accepting the love that God is by accepting the need to allow his love to cleanse us. [by faith in Christ.]
Recognition of the death that sin is, results in our baptism of its acceptance, and recognition of the life that Jesus is, results in our baptism of its acceptance also.
Heb 2-14,15. Since then the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death he might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
Those who believe in me will never see death. This is a promise.
Those in, through, Christ have become a new creation. One died for all, therefore all died. His death reality becomes our death reality. His life reality becomes our life reality. Through faith.
We receive the Spirit through faith. “….have crossed over from death to life…”
[The Father also suffered.]