Have you ever felt like the weight of the world is on your shoulders? Or maybe just the weight of your world?
The Pressures of Everyday Life
I think every life phase we are in presents challenges that can create pressure and stress. If you are in high school, you want to keep your grades up so you can get into the college you want. If you are in college, you are hoping you won’t regret the major you choose. Once you are out of college, you realize it is not so easy to land the job you want. Once you have the job, there can be a lot of pressure to perform. There is pressure from your boss or coworkers. If you are single, you are hoping you find someone you can love and spend your lives together. When you get married, you realize being married isn’t easy. You love your spouse but relationships are hard. When you have your first child, there is a lot of responsibility. You love your child but you are in charge of taking care of a human being! My daughter Joelle was sick just last week and woke up vomiting in the middle of night. Could my wife and I just go back to sleep? Nope. We have to care for her and make sure she is safe.
The pressures of life can at times be crushing. Trying to balance everything and care for everyone can be paralyzing. But what about when things go wrong?
The Unexpected in Life
On top of the pressure of everyday life, there is an unexpected illness or death of a loved one. Cancer, sickness and death can leave you confused. It can leave you feeling alone and in mourning. When the unexpected in life comes, you are still trying to balance everything and care for everyone.
What about when you do or say something that is hurtful to someone else? You don’t know why you keep saying those things or doing those things to people you care about. You wonder why you can’t stop thinking like that toward others. This is sin when we fall short of the way we should treat others. This is God’s standard because he wants us to love one another.
What about when someone does or says something hurtful to you? You want to forgive and move on, but its hard. You wonder if you can forgive. You wonder if you can trust anyone ever again.
When the unexpected comes while you are trying to live through the pressures of everyday life, it can be paralyzing. It can be crushing.
Jesus was Crushed
I can’t help but think of Jesus when he said this:
“My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” Mark 14:34
Jesus is in the garden. He is about to go and pray. He tells his closest friends that he is going to pray and to keep watch. But Jesus is deeply troubled. He is crushed. Why was Jesus crushed?
Jesus went through it all up until this point in the garden. He faced all kinds of challenges and opposition. He received push back from the religious leaders of his time. He was unfairly criticized. He was wrongly accused. He persevered through their opposition. Jesus faced all kinds of people with various issues. Jesus met with people that no one wanted to meet with especially the religious leaders. Jesus healed the sick. He raised the dead. He persevered through it all.
Yet in this moment in the garden, Jesus was crushed with grief to the point of death.
Jesus even asks His Father God:
“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Jesus does want His Father’s will to be done and for that we are thankful. But what has Jesus in this moment asking for His Father to take “this cup of suffering” away from Him? What is “this cup of suffering?”
What is this cup of suffering?
Jesus knew what was ahead for him. He would be crucified. Today the cross for most people all around the world is a symbol of Christianity. It is a symbol of love, hope, victory and forgiveness. But in the first century there was no framework to view the cross in this way. When Jesus was praying in the garden, there was no frame of reference to view the cross as any kind of positive symbol. He was alone with understanding what his mission was all about. His own friends would fall asleep on him in the garden. One friend would betray him. Another friend would deny him. Others would watch from a distance confused.
For everyone except Jesus, the cross was a symbol of shame. The person hanging on the cross would be hanging there naked and exposed. The person would be bleeding and suffocating to death on the cross. The cross was also a symbol of defeat. There was no victory on the cross. Rome, who was the empire of the day, would squash any would be threats. They would display them on the cross and say, “See! Look at this failed Messiah, King and Savior!” The cross meant it was over. The cross was also a symbol of violent brutality. This was perhaps the most violent way to die in the ancient world. Not much is even written detailed information about crucifixion in the ancient world. In fact, the great sources for information about crucifixion are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament. No one wanted to talk about it. It was too violent. It was not a subject to dwell on. Jesus would be flogged with streams of blood flowing from his body. He would need help carrying the beam of cross to Golgotha where he would be crucified.
So crucifixion was crushing Him. Crucifixion was part of “this cup of suffering.” But there is more.
This brings me to one of the most disturbing verse in all of the Bible. Isaiah, a messenger of God, would predict what Jesus would go through in this verse.
“But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.” Isaiah 53:10
This was all part of God’s good plan. Jesus was crushed with grief. Jesus asked for the cup of suffering to pass Him by but He wanted the Lord’s good plan and not his own.
Isaiah says in the second half of this verse
“his life is made an offering for sin.”
Jesus would pay the price that we deserved. He would be an offering for sin. Paul, one of the leaders in the early church would say this about Jesus:
“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,. so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
Jesus never sinned. Jesus would be an offering for our sin. Jesus would die on the cross for the sins not only of those of his time, but for us as well. Jesus would carry the sins of the world on his shoulders. Jesus would carry your sin and my sin. And it crushed Him.
Jesus would carry your sin and my sin. And it crushed Him.
Yet He wanted the Lord’s good plan and not His own. Because Jesus was the offering for our sins, those who have placed our trust in Jesus have been made right with God. We have a personal relationship with God. God is present with you. He has forgiven you, if you have placed your trust in Jesus.
Perhaps you have a huge weight on your shoulders. I don’t know what that weight is, but God does. And Jesus knows what its like to carry a huge weight. He carried your sins and my sins on his shoulders. He paid the price. Therefore, He is present with you and wants to relieve the pressure and anxiety that is crushing you. If you haven’t placed your trust in Him, he offers you forgiveness. He offers you a personal relationship with him. Will you accept? Will you trust?
Thanks for reading.