In Gethsemane, “horror and dismay overcame him, and he said,…“My heart is ready to break with grief.” (Mark 14:4, NEB). The death of Jesus on the cross was one he shrank back from, so horrendous was the prospect. It was not, I believe, primarily the intense physical suffering of beating, scourging and crucifixion that brought his dismay. There were three other, far more horrendous things that brought horror to Jesus.
First he was to become sin. The ugliness, the stench, the squalor, the repulsiveness of sin, these he would become. Think of being lowered into a pit of liquid manure, its greenish surface roiling with maggots, the stench overwhelming, the prospect utterly repulsive; and as you go down into it, it gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, and then lungs, engulfing you in its terribleness. This is nothing compared to Christ’s becoming sin for us, the evil of it entering His very being.
Then He was under the righteous wrath of God which had been stored up from the beginning of the world against all the sin ever committed and which would be committed. The unimaginably immense weight of wrath, coming from His own Father, crashed down upon Jesus, utterly crushing him.
And third, Jesus was wrenched out of the relationship of the Trinity, the perfect place, the unflawed unity, the beautiful balance, the wonderful warmth that had existed from eternity. As He became sin and had wrath poured upon Him, He could not stay in that intimate relationship where there was no sin. The fabric of the trinity was ripped, it’s essence smashed, it’s unity destroyed. The pain of rejection, being utterly alone, and having become sin, being utterly unworthy of this relationship, was the worst part of His death. This rending of the trinity brought, I believe, the greatest suffering of His sacrifice, not only to Jesus, but to the Father and the Spirit also.
The amount of horror for Jesus in this experience was immeasurably great, as it is immeasurably incomprehensible to us. It was an infinite suffering borne by an infinite heart of love under an infinite wrath. And it brought about an infinite solution for finite beings. Only the God who is Love could do this. Only Jesus could be our Savior, willing to go through suffering which was beyond the comprehension of angels. And He did it to save those who are lower than Angels. Halleluah!