Friday, December 31, 2010

Jesus' Soul-trouble

Consider Jesus—in Soul-trouble

"Now My soul is deeply troubled."—John 12:27

In this lay our Lord's greatest suffering—His soul-sorrow. Compared with this, the lingering, excruciating tortures of the cross—the extended limbs, the quivering nerves, the bleeding wounds, the burning thirst—were, as nothing.

This was physical, the other spiritual; the one, the suffering of the body, the other, the anguish of the soul.

Let a vessel traversing the ocean keep afloat, and she may still plough the deep and brave the tempest; but let the proud waves burst in upon her and she sinks.

So long as our blessed Lord endured outwardly the gibes and insults and calumnies of men, not a complaint escaped His lips; but, when the wrath of God, endured as the Surety-Head of His people, entered within His holy soul, then the wail of agony rose strong and piercing—"Save Me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to My neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can't find a foothold to stand on. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm Me. I am exhausted from crying for help; My throat is parched and dry. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help Me." Psalm 69:1-3

How true is God's word—"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit, who can bear?" Such was Christ's.

And why was His soul troubled?

One rational answer alone can be given—He was now bearing sin and, consequently, the punishment of sin—the wrath of God overwhelming His soul. This was the 'cup' which He prayed might, 'if possible, pass from Him.' Divine justice, finding the sins of God's elect meeting on His holy soul, exacted full satisfaction and inflicted the utmost penalty.

And thus a glorious gospel truth shines out of this terrible cloud of Jesus' soul-sorrow—that is, the substitutionary character and the atoning nature of His sufferings and death.

Upon no reasonable ground other than this can we satisfactorily account for His language—"My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death."

(From Octavius Winslow's Consider Jesus, line breaks mine)

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