The Signs of the Times


January 15, 1902

Our Elder Brother


Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful, and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed.” ST January 15, 1902, par. 1

Christ felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man's sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression. ST January 15, 1902, par. 2

Only a short time before, Christ had offered His intercessory prayer to the Father, not as one overcome in battle, but as one who had gained the victory at each step as He approached the consummation of His work. As one already glorified, He had claimed oneness with God. ST January 15, 1902, par. 3

But now the hour of Satan's apparent triumph had come. The storm of wrath was about to beat upon the Saviour. A horror of great darkness oppressed His soul. Everything was at stake with Him. In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: “The people who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages, have rejected you. They are seeking to destroy you, the foundation, the center and seal, of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of your own disciples, who has listened to your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray you. One of your most zealous followers will deny you. All will forsake you.” Christ's whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible. The sins of men weighed heavily upon the Saviour, and the sense of God's wrath against sin was crushing out His life. From His pale lips came the bitter cry, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” ST January 15, 1902, par. 4

“And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep.” Had He found them praying, He would have been relieved. Had they been seeking refuge in God, that Satanic agencies might not prevail against them, He would have been comforted by their steadfast faith. But they had not heeded the repeated warning, “Watch and pray.” At first they have been much troubled to see their Master, usually so calm and dignified, wrestling with a sorrow that was beyond comprehension. They had prayed as they heard the strong cries of the sufferer. They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed with a stupor which they might have shaken off had they continued pleading with God. ST January 15, 1902, par. 5

The weakness of the disciples awakened the sympathy of Jesus. Addressing Peter, He said, “Simon, sleepest thou? Couldst thou not watch with Me one hour?” He feared that they would not be able to endure the test that would come upon them in His betrayal and death; and He said, “Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” Even in His great agony He sought to excuse their weakness. “The spirit truly is willing,” He said, “but the flesh is weak.” ST January 15, 1902, par. 6

Once more Christ sought His place of prayer, and His voice was heard on the still evening air, not in tones of triumph, but full of human anguish. The words of the Saviour were borne to the ears of the drowsy disciples: “O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” ST January 15, 1902, par. 7

Again Christ felt a longing for companionship, for some words from His disciples that would bring relief. Once more He came to them, “but their eyes were heavy; neither wist they what to answer Him.” ST January 15, 1902, par. 8

Turning away, Jesus sought His retreat, and fell prostrate to the ground, overcome by the horror of a great darkness. The humanity of the Son of God trembled in that trying hour. He prayed not now for His disciples that their faith might not fail, but for His own anguished, agonized soul. The awful moment had come,—that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was not yet too late. He might leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, “Let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin; and I will go back to my Father.” Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humility and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin, to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from His lips. “O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” ST January 15, 1902, par. 9

Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world's Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. ST January 15, 1902, par. 10

O tried, tempted soul, remember that He who suffered in Gethsemane is your Saviour. He is touched with the feeling of your infirmities; for He was “in all points tempted like as we are.” Because of this, “He is able to succor them that are tempted.” He was made perfect through suffering. He is watching over you, trembling child of God. Are you tempted? He will deliver. Are you weak? He will strengthen. Are you ignorant? He will enlighten. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Whatever your anxieties and trials, spread out your case before the Lord. Your spirit will be braced for endurance. The way will be opened for you to disentangle yourself from embarrassment and difficulty. The weaker and more helpless you know yourself to be, the stronger will you become in His strength. ST January 15, 1902, par. 11

To all who are reaching out to feel the guiding hand of God, the moment of greatest discouragement is the time when divine help is nearest. They will look back with thankfulness on the darkest part of their way. From every temptation and every trial they will come forth with finer faith and a richer experience. ST January 15, 1902, par. 12

Mrs. E. G. White