Q. Mt 26:38 “Jesus said to them, My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” If Jesus can look through the corridors of time and see generations of people from every nation and walk of life being redeemed and reconciled to God through His blood shed on the cross, and the glory that awaits Him when He rose from the dead, why would He have this deep sorrow feeling? Is this because He is also a man?
A. It is true that Jesus knew that countless will be saved by His sacrifice and the glory of the resurrection. He was not afraid of the physical pain and the shame of the cross, yet He was deeply grieved:
• Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
• Rev 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
• Heb 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
• Mk 14:34 And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.”
• Jn 12:27 Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
I believe this is because He is also a man, particularly in two aspects:
Positively, the Son had never been separated from the Father in eternity past, but was about to be abandoned by the Father:
• Mt 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
Negatively, the sinless Holy One was about to take on the sins of the whole world (1 Jn 2:2):
• 2 Co 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The enormity of this burden must have weighed on Him so much that He was grieved to the point of death. We were sinful and alienated from the Father, and would not have understood these emotions which were unique to Jesus.