Later, on that journey south, as the time and place are nearing, He strides along the road, with such a look in His face as makes these men, who had lived in closest touch, “amazed,” that is, awed and frightened. And as they followed behind, they were “afraid.” It is the only time it is said that the sight of His face made them afraid. Then He explains to them what is in His thoughts, with full details of the indignities to be heaped upon His person. The sternness of His purpose, perhaps not only the terrible experience of knowing sin at such close range, but, not unlikely, an anger, a hot indignation against sin and its ravages, which He was going to stab to death, flashed blinding lightning out of those eyes.
It was, not unlikely, something of the same feeling as made Him shake with indignation as He realized His dear friend Lazarus in the cold, clinging embrace of death, sin’s climax. The determination to conquer sin, give it a death thrust, mingled with His acute consciousness of that through which He must go in the doing of it, wrote deep marks on His face. It is the beginning already of Gethsemane, as that, in turn, is of Calvary.
Earlier in the last week occurs the incident which agitates Jesus so, of the Greeks’ request for an interview. These earnest seekers for truth, from outside the Jewish nation, seem to bring up to His mind the great outside world, so hungry for Him, and for which He was so hungry. But, quick as a flash, there falls over that the inky black shadow of a cross in His path, and the instant realization that only through it could He get out to these great outside crowds.
As though unaware of the presence of the crowds, He begins talking with Himself, out of His heart, saying words which none understand. “Now is my innermost being agitated, all shaken up; and what decisive word shall I speak? Shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this experience’? He can. No, I cannot say that, for for this purpose I have deliberately come to it. This is what I will say—and the agitation within His spirit issues in the victorious tightening of every rivet in His purpose—’Father, glorify Thy name.’” This is Gethsemane already, both in the struggle and in the victory through loyalty to the Father’s will.
The Climax of Jesus’ Suffering.
And now comes Gethsemane. Both hat and shoes quickly go off here, for this is holiest ground. One looks with head bowed and breath held in, and reverential awe ever deepening. The shadow of the cross so long darkening His path is now closing in and enveloping Jesus. The big trees cast black shadows against the brilliance of the full moon. Yet they are as bright lights beside this other shadow, this inky shadow cast by the tree up yonder, just outside the Jerusalem wall, with the huge limb sitting sharply astride the trunk.