Sin, sin! What have you done!

(George Everard, "Dark Gethsemane" 1877)

"Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane." Matthew 26:36

"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death!" Matthew 26:38

"And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground!" Luke 22:44

Let me draw near — let me behold this wondrous sight. If Moses took off his shoes when the Lord came near at the burning bush, still more should I regard Gethsemane as holy ground.

I see the Redeemer of sinners prostrate on the cold earth. I hear a sorrowful groan. There is deep soul agony; there is sore dismay; there is darkness that may be felt. Dark and gloomy was the shadow cast by those olive trees in the Garden. But a deeper darkness overshadowed the spirit of the Savior. Well might He employ the language of the Psalmist: "Fearfulness and trembling have come upon Me, and a horrible dread has overwhelmed Me!"

His soul is amazed and very heavy. He prays in an agony. The conflict is great, and His sweat is as drops of blood falling to the ground.

Who can pierce the darkness?
Who can tell the secret of that hour?
Who can explain the cause of that mysterious agony?

Is it that, in some way altogether beyond our thought — sin, our sin — is piercing the Holy One? Is it the guilt of sinners oppressing our Surety — the judgment and the wrath we had merited, descending upon Him? Who shall answer? Who has known the mind of the Lord? Rather let us worship and adore.

O sinless Lamb, O Lord Jesus, I bow before You, and praise You for Your love! What marvels do I behold!
You, the source of all joy — are borne down with heavy sorrow!
You, the source of all comfort — faint for lack of it.
You, the Fountain of Life — wrestle with death.
You, the highest Majesty, before whom Principalities and Powers bow — bow down Yourself to the earth before Your Father.
You, before Whom cherubim and seraphim veil their faces — lie in the dust and tread the winepress of divine wrath, for man.

Ah, I learn here the fearful reality of sin! Sin, sin! What have you done! This is your work. Never, but for sin, would we have seen the holy, spotless Savior thus enduring unspeakable sorrows. Never, but for sin, would Christ have drunk the cup of suffering, wrath, and death! Can it be a light thing which cost the Son of God such groans, such tears, such agony?

Who can utter all that sin has done?
The whole creation groans beneath the burden.
Countries are filled with cruelty and oppression.
Homes are made wretched by its power.
Ten thousand times ten thousand hearts, it has crushed and broken.
On account of it, myriads of death-beds have been without one ray of hope — and unnumbered souls have perished eternally.

O that I may abhor the faintest shadow of evil!

O that I may shrink from the least taint of this deadly thing!