“He began to be sorrowful and very heavy … exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” Matthew 26:37-38 KJV

“[He] began to be grieved and distressed…deeply grieved, to the point of death.” Matthew 26:37-38 NASB

The suffering and sorrows of the Lord Jesus in Gethsemane did not put away sin; only His work on the cross did that. But those sorrows were real and intense. They were so great that they were “unto death.”

A natural man would have died from them. This is not mere exaggeration. There is something known medically called, “Broken Heart Syndrome,” or Takotsubo syndrome. It is a damaged heart from excess stress and grief.

The sorrows of the Garden were beyond measuring. It was all in anticipation of what the cross would actually be. The prospect of being forsaken must have loomed as an incredible burden to the sensitive soul of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Jeremiah once said, grieving over the destroyed city of Jerusalem: “Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow” (Lam 1:12). Do you think the words “exceeding sorrowful” would suggest an answer to Jeremiah’s question?
  2. The word for “exceeding sorrowful” literally means sorrow on every side. Think of all the issues which caused Christ’s sorrow in the garden and on the cross.
  3. Peter, James, and John were taken apart on a number of occasions. Compare this occasion with the mount of transfiguration. Peter speaks of being an eye-witness of the sufferings of Christ (1 Pet 5:1). Is this perhaps one occasion?
  4. “He began to be sorrowful.” When did it end?