My devotional for this Maundy Thursday clarified that as fully human and fully God incarnate, Jesus Christ suffered all things we suffer, including mental anguish. He did not turn to the depths of despair as we do, but to Father God.
John 12:27-28 Jesus said, ‘Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.'”
What do you do when you encounter troubles? I know I am not always in the right frame of mind or in the correct spiritual stance when they come. We currently have one vehicle to drive, my husband’s truck, for an indefinite amount of time while the collision shop waits for back ordered parts for my Telluride repair. This has put my loving husband on edge, especially with the snow forecast and today being Prayer Connection for our Stonecroft women, which I lead. This makes two mornings in a row I needed the truck and had a challenge fitting in my morning devotion. Well, we both lost our cool, I finally tromped out the door so I wouldn’t be late, and had to repent and change my attitude on the drive to the prayer meeting. The words from Cyril of Alexandria from three-hundred and fifty years after Christ, paired with the above Scripture, gave me much to contemplate. We had two of our women come into prayer meeting an hour into the two-hour meeting, making the perfect time to share this devotion [from An Ocean of Grace by Tim Chester, p. 146-148] It is lengthy, but I promise it will bless you!
My Saviour, Jesus Christ, a man born of woman, not in deceptive appearance or mere fancy but rather by nature and in truth, possessing every human quality, except for sin-for that which has not been taken into your nature has not been saved-you are the firstfruits of a new humanity: in you our nature was restored to newness of life, for you are the second Adam.
For my profit these human feelings troubled you: in this way and no other could my healing come to pass. As a man you felt hunger and weariness; as a man you felt the mental anguish of suffering. Yet you were not agitated like we are, for the truth restored your courage. Fo you, the Word of God, were made one with your human nature in its entirety, so you might save the whole person.
After speaking of being troubled, you did not sink into silence but transformed the suffering which had affected you into dauntless courage. You despised death and the shame of suffering, looking only to what your suffering would achieve, beholding our death in your death, knowing the power of corruption would soon be destroyed, seeing the transformation of human nature to newness of life for ever.
The cross is glory. For at the season of your Passion, you willingly and patiently endured many insults, and voluntarily accepted sufferings for our sake which you could have refused. Suffering like this for the benefit of others is a sign of your boundless compassion and supreme glory.
We glorify you, too, because you overpowered death. And so we acknowledge that you are Life, the Son of the living God. And the Father is glorified when he is seen to have such a Son begotten of himself, of the same Nature as himself. He is Good, Light, Life, and superior to death, the One who does whatever he will.
Just as death was reduced to nothing by your death, and by your death alone, so also, Christ our Saviour, unless you had felt dread, human nature could not have become free from dread; unless you had experienced grief, there could never have been any deliverance from grief; unless you had been troubled and alarmed, no escape from these feelings could have been found.
With every affection to which human nature is liable, we find the corresponding affection in Christ. The affections of your flesh were aroused, not that they might have the upper hand as they do in us, but in order that they might be thoroughly subdued by the power of the Word dwelling in the flesh, the nature of humanity thus being changed for good.
So now when we feel overwhelmed by dread or grief or alarm, restore our courage with the truth of the word, and comfort our hearts through the Word made flesh.Holy Week Thursday, Cyril of Alexandria, comments on John 12:27-28, Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint John, Vol. 2 (Walter Smith, 1885) p. 150-154
I leave you with thoughts of our Risen Savior and some words of encouragement from the Apostle Paul.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.