Why did Jesus cry in the Garden of Gethsemane?
When we read the Gospel of Mark 14:34, we notice something strange. Something unusual about Jesus can be seen in the Gospel. Jesus is cringing about the fact that he has to suffer. But why should we reflect on this? Didn’t Jesus cry before? Yes, he did. He cried while he called out Lazarus from his grave. But in the Garden of Gethsemane, he cried for something else. This “something else” is so powerful that it may not comprehend into words or any form of explanation.
When we read Mark 14:34, we see him telling his disciples, that the sorrow of his heart is so great, that it almost crushes him. Wait! Isn’t He God? Isn’t He the Alpha and the Omega? Isn’t He one with the Father and the Holy Spirit? If that is so, how come a human sorrow, is crushing him? If we need to understand this, it is necessary that we for a moment dig deeper into the whole character of Jesus.
Here are 4 reasons why did Jesus cry in the Garden of Gethsemane.
1. Jesus was human.
This is so simple, yet so heavy to understand. God who is the creator of things seen and unseen, who was present before nothing that existed, who created everything by just speaking few words of his own will, who raised people from the dead, gave new sight to the blind, made the deaf hear and the mute speak, that God- that same God, became human, to be allowed to suffer in the hands of humans and as a human he suffered and died. Jesus was a human, and as humans we all have emotions. And thus, he cried. He was weak as a human but Omnipotent as God. Imagine his love for us, that he could have turned all the Roman soldiers and the Pharisees and Judas and anybody who was against him, into dust, with just a blink of an eye. But he allowed everything, the ugly persecution that was supposed to happen, for our sake. Now, human as he was, he could not hold in his heart, the tremendous, ugly, unbearable, heavy, unimaginable suffering that was about to come in just a few hours. He had to suffer to save us from Eternal damnation. He grew weak at that moment. The devil again tried to tempt him, so that he may change his decision, and so as a human he asked his Father, the Eternal Spirit God, to allow this suffering to stop. The reason why he asked the Father to take the cup of suffering away from him, is because he was a human who knew how miserably he was going to die.
2. He knew what was coming
Imagine, that God gave you the power to see the future, and in that future, you saw, that you will die in just a week. You also see how you are supposed to die. It would not be a normal death, but a death by accident under a moving train. You see how the train within a moment crushes your head into pieces, but the pain that you feel feels like it is never going to finish. It cuts your skin, breaks your skull, and smashes your brains. Your body still responds to that pain for few minutes. And all of this in detail you have seen,and its going to happen in just a week’s time. Would’nt you shiver in fear, stop eating, and give up on your sleep? Anybody would. All of us has seen the movie The Passion of Christ. We all at some point closed our eyes due to some scenes which are so gross in its portrayal of the suffering that Jesus faced. However, He faced much more. The Bible says that the face of Jesus was deformed. Nobody was able to figure out whether it was him or some other person. He was beaten in such a way that his face was no longer recognizable. And all of this happened publicly. Now, take a moment and think. Jesus saw in front of His eyes, all of this till he gave his last breath on the cross, and felt the immense suffering in his soul. This is the suffering and sorrow that was crushing him from within.
3. He was Lonely.
The Scrpiture tells us how pathetically lonely Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. The reason why he was so lonely, is because no matter how much he wanted, no matter how much he tried, he cannot share his suffering with anybody. It just had to happen. If disclosed, it would never happen. That’s the deal. Therefore, even though he gave hints and ideas onto how badly he was to suffer in the hands of men a multiple times to his disciples, his disciples could never grasp the weightage of his words. Also, repeatedly in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus came back to wake up his disciples, so that at least they too pray for him so that he may have the strength. As he clearly says, the spirit is ready but the body is weak. Thus, he had no one beside him, no human touch was there for him. All alone he was, in his agony in the garden. So much was his agony that his sweat became drops of blood. He was so much in pain and was crying for help, that an angel from Heaven had to come down to give him the strength and consolation. At that moment, he had to let his tears flow.
4. For His disciples – John 17
We see Jesus prays to the father for his disciples in John 17. He surrenders them to his Father so that his Father may take care of them in his absence. But, that isn’t a reason to cry, right? Well, he didn’t cry for that. He cried because the people for whom he prayed and thanked the Father, those very people left him all ALONE. One of them betrayed him, one denied him three times, one did not believe when he resurrected, and the rest all fled away, far away from him and went into hiding. No one was with him, to fight for his release. Yes, Peter had cut the ear of one of the soldiers, but then what? At that moment when Jesus was alone in the Mount of Olives, to pray and see what was coming, may be the biggest reason why he broke down and started crying is because of this. His best friends left him, abandoned him, gave him away.
As I write this blog, my heart is heavy. The thought that is going on as I wrote these 4 points is I myself is one and every reason for which Jesus had to cry. I am also like these disciples who leave him all alone, cannot stay awake for him, give him up to the enemies, cannot share his sorrows, cannot grasp the meanings of his words, and in the end, let him cry and weep and let his sorrows crush him from within. Are you also feeling the same way as I feel right now?