A Holy Saturday Reflection

Johann Gerhard was a pastor and prolific writer from the 17th century. His book, An Explanation of the History of the Suffering and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, is a must-read during Lent. Here are some excerpts from the section about Christ’s suffering as it began in the Garden of Gethsemane:

If it also ever happens that God gives us a little drink from this chalice of inner (spiritual) suffering and agony of heart, we are to be patient and are to remember how insignificantly this is to be regarded compared to the great flood which overcame Christ. Sink all your pains in this agony of Christ. Thus they will easily vanish like a tiny particle of dust in the sunshine. And that is precisely the reason that God the Lord at times portrays Himself as if He has hidden His countenance, allowing us to experience a bit of heart-anquish so that we may see what Christ endured for us and thank Him for it (pgs. 66-67).

“Take away this cup from Me,” Christ said. Thus it is not improper that one petition God to avert or alleviate a cross. However, it must immediately follow thereupon and occur at the same time that one commits everything to the fatherly will of God. Just as Christ here says: “Yet not My will, rather Your will take place.” Even though Christ, as true Man, indeed felt human emotions and asked for the averting of this chalice, He nevertheless immediately forthwith put His will under the will of God [the Father]. We must do this much more, for many times we do not know for what we should pray (Rom. 8). However, as our dear Father, God’s will is always the best (pgs. 68-69).