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The Ten Stages of Christ’s Suffering

(This post is based on the Crucifixion of Christ as presented in the Book of Matthew 

With illumination from the other gospels)

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, suffered, bled, and died so that you and I might have a right to the Tree of Life.  In the Book of Matthew, chapters 26 and 27, we are presented with the details of His horrific experience.   Let us explore His suffering as it unfolded in ten stages. 

Stage 1.  Christ’s agony began in the Garden of Gethsemane.  

Matthew 26:37-39 presents Christ as He began to be sorrowful in the Garden of Gethsemane.  37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

As the weight of what Jesus was about to experience began to settle upon Him, He began to sweat like great drops of blood.  Luke 22:44 says:        

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Three times, in Matt. 26:39, 42, and 44, Christ cried out to His Father, requesting that the cup he had to drink be removed from Him.

39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Each time that Christ prayed, it was evident that His spirit was willing, but his human flesh was weak and had to be brought into submission to the will of God.  Christ’s experience guides us when we are faced with a situation in which our will is attempting to struggle against the will of God.  We must pray until our will yields to God’s will, just as Jesus did. 

It is doubtful that Jesus’ request that the cup is removed from Him concerned His physical death.  He had made it very clear on several occasions that He was resolved to die for the sins of man.  Two examples are found in Mark 10:33-34 and Luke 9:51.  

Mark 10:33-34 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:

34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

It is more probable that His prayer had to do with His separation from His Heavenly Father, the ultimate punishment for sin.  His human flesh did come into subjection to the Will of His Father when He prayed,” nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”  He fully submitted to undergo both physical and spiritual separation from His Father so that humanity could be saved.  Hebrew 5:7 says:  

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

His father heard his prayer, and Jesus was able to receive God’s grace and assistance in undergoing His appointed suffering.  We must remember that God will always be with us as we experience the appointed suffering that we must endure.  

Following the submission of His will to His Father, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested, taken before Caiaphas, and deserted by His disciples.  The second stage of Jesus’ suffering ensued.