We can understand Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane, and that His sweat fell as great drops of blood to the ground (Luke 22:44), when we realize that He stood at the top of the stairway leading down to hell; and He saw what He would have to suffer on His cross for our sins.
This is also expressed in Psalm 69:1, 2, where David, as the type of Christ, writes, "Save me O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me."
No wonder then that He prayed for another way to save us than this way of suffering God's holy wrath. His love for God made it so hard for Him to be cut off from God's fellowship that we can understand the versification (PRC Psalter):
Save me, O God, because the floods
Come in upon my soul.
I sink in depths where none can stand
Deep waters o'er me roll.
What agony He must suffer for us in His soul! Those floods of waters are the awful, holy wrath of God against sin. Jesus sees already that He will suffer that which will make Him cry out, "My God, why hath Thou forsaken Me?"
Even the anticipation of being forsaken of God was intense agony for Him. It was what God would take away from Him and not what men would do to Him that gave Him so much agony. He would not enjoy God's love, but be cut off from His fellowship.
But what does heaven mean for you and me? Is it merely being cut off from physical aches and pains, bodily miseries? Could fellowship with God, living with Him in His house of many mansions, seeing Him smile down upon us in His love be lacking, and we would still call it heaven?
When you pray, "Save me, O God," be sure that you are seeking joy for your soul, the joy Jesus spoke of when He said to the penitent thief, "Today shaft thou be with Me in paradise.'' The joy of being with Christ is heaven. To be cast away from God is the agony of Gethsemane.
Read: Psalm 69
Psalter versification: #184:1
Daily Meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism
Song for Meditation: Psalter #237
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Through the Bible in One Year
Deuteronomy 5 ; Deuteronomy 6
Quote for Reflection:
Heeding Counsel: “The ungodly are ever ready to “counsel” the believer, seeming to be very solicitous of his welfare. They will warn him against being too strict and extreme, advising him to be broadminded and to “make the best of both worlds.” But the policy of the “ungodly”— i.e., of those who leave God out of their lives, who have not His “fear” before their eyes—is regulated by self-will and self-pleasing, and is dominated by what they call “common sense.” Alas, how many professing Christians regulate their lives by the advice and suggestions of ungodly friends and relatives: heeding such “counsel” in their business career, their social life, the furnishing and decorating of their homes, their dress and diet, the choice of school or vocation for their children.” --Arthur W. Pink