From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
The Garden of Gethsemane is the place where Jesus was revealed to be truly human. There he faced the choice between obedience and disobedience. He was not a robot programmed to obey God automatically. He knows what it’s like to be tempted. And, after three years of selfless giving, Jesus was never more vulnerable to temptation than at this moment in the garden.
But it is one thing to die for a cause or for a country. It is quite another to die for an entire world—for all the accumulated sins of generations past and generations to come. Sin had to be punished. If God were simply to forgive our sins without judging them, then there would be no justice, no accountability for wrongdoing—God would not be truly holy and just. The cross was the only way to resolve the problem of sin.
No one ever experienced greater spiritual suffering than Jesus. The wheel of humiliation and death would squeeze Jesus to the point of great agony. His death was a spiritual battle against the powers of darkness, and His resurrection meant the triumph of God over Satan. No mere man could defeat Satan. Only Jesus. And He did it for us. Jesus’ agony was endured because of His great love for mankind.
The lyrics of a wonderful song speak to us especially during the Easter season. “O what a Savior, O hallelujah, His heart was broken on Calvary. His hands were nail scarred, His side was riven, He gave His life-blood for even me.”
Martyrs are killed because of beliefs they stand on even in the face of death. Christ faced death for us to bring us to believe in Him. He was wounded for our transgressions, and by them we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). And He did it willingly.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)