A few of the college gals from our church recently asked me what books I would recommend to them concerning the person of Christ. These are two particularly intelligent young women, so I recommended they work through Donald Macleod’s, The Person of Christ. A thick book that at times wades into deep theological waters, but doesn’t neglect to stir one’s affections. A perfect example can be found in the quote below where, as Macleod is covering the humanity of Jesus, he hits on Christ’s His fear in the Garden of Gethsemane:
“When Moses saw the glory of God on Mount Sinai so terrifying was the sight that he trembled with fear (Heb. 12:21). But that was God in covenant; God in grace.
What Jesus saw in Gethsemane was God with the sword raised (Zc. 13:7; Mt. 26:31). The sight was unbearable. In a few short hours, he, the Last Adam, would stand before that God answering for the sin of the world: indeed, identified with the sin of the world (2 Cor. 5:21). He became, as Luther said, ‘the greatest sinner that ever was.’ Consequently, to quote Luther again, ‘No one ever feared death so much as this man.’ He feared it because for him it was no sleep (1 Thess. 4:13), but the wages of sin; death with the sting; death unmodified and unmitigated; death as involving all that sin deserved. He alone, would face it without a covering, providing by his very dying the only covering for the world, but doing so as a whole offering, totally exposed to God’s abhorrence of sin. And he would face death without God, deprived of the one solace and the one resource which had always been there.
“The wonder of the love of Christ for his people is not that for their sake he faced death without fear, but that for their sake he faced it, terrified. Terrified by what he knew, and terrified by what he did not know, he took damnation lovingly” (Macleod, The Person of Christ, pp. 174-175).
Sometimes we forget that Jesus was fully human and that it was not easy for Jesus to save us. As we see above, at times His mission scared Him (almost) to death (Mark 14:34; John 12:27). But, therein lies the love of Christ: though terrified, He went forward. That is the Savior I serve and proclaim. The One who chose to be terrified for me so that I could know true peace with God through Him (Romans 5:1-2). The One who endured Hell’s worst so I may enjoy Heaven’s best (1 John 4:10). The One who was forsaken as an enemy of God (Matthew 27:46) so I could be received as a son of God (Galatians 4:4-7).
I serve, love, obey, and proclaim Jesus because He is the One who, “took damnation lovingly…”