Battling Unbelief: Despondency Pt. 3 Daily Devotion

Scripture: Psalms 73:21-26

Look at verse 36:

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go yonder and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.”

Now what’s going on here, why is Jesus so distressed and troubled and sorrowful?

John 12:27 says “Now is my soul troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, but for this purpose, I have come to this hour.” Now I think that text tells us what the nature of the temptation was. Satan was firing volley after volley into the mind of Jesus Christ. And thoughts came into his mind from Satan, thoughts like, “This is a dead end street. Calvary is just a black hole. It’s going to hurt like nothing has ever hurt any human being ever before, and these rascals aren’t worth it, etc.” These were coming out of Satan’s wicked heart into the mind of the Son of God.

Satan wants to produce in Jesus a spirit of despondency that sinks unopposed in resignation and says “It won’t work, there’s no point in pressing on anymore.” Now I want us to think about this warfare for a minute and compare it to the disciples.

Jesus is a sinless man. According to Hebrews 4:15 and 2 Corinthians 5:20 he never sinned at all, neither in thought, emotion, or deed. He was sinless. This means that the emotional turmoil that he was experiencing at this moment was a fitting response to the kind of extraordinary temptation he was enduring. The demonic thought that Calvary is a black hole of meaninglessness and emptiness and purposelessness is so horrendous that it ought to cause a jarring, a shock, in the soul of the Son of God as well as yours and mine.

It’s like a bomb. Satan drops bombs on the peaceful sea of our lives. And if it’s an atomic bomb there is, as soon as it explodes, a massive shock wave that hits before the deadly rays begin to make there way over people’s lives. That’s what I would say in Jesus’ life is not sin. The shock wave of a satanic temptation that the death of the Son of God would be pointless is so powerful that it rolls him, it knocks him.

John Piper

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