555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

228. Was the Pain the Saviour Suffered on Calvary Physical or Mental?




Pain is a difficult thing to measure. The sorrow of Jesus will always be one of the awe-inspiring, baffling events of the world story. It is impossible to read the Bible deeply, particularly after one has become personally acquainted with Jesus and observed the amazing power that the facts of his suffering and death possess over human souls, without realizing that there must have been far deeper anguish than can be accounted for by the mere facts of his humiliation, rejection, torture and death. If we consider the merely physical pain we must acknowledge that others have apparently borne as much, though we must also acknowledge that there are almost infinite degrees of susceptibility to pain. A wound which will cause little pain to a man of a certain temperament and organization may be excruciating to one of finer and more acute sensitiveness. But the real agony of Jesus must have been different from either physical or mental. There is a sane note, a moral note in his suffering that puts it altogether beyond our comprehension. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the fact that as he died he cried out with a loud voice. That seems strange from what we know of the dauntless courage of Jesus. Some immeasurable, inconceivable suffering must lie back of that cry. So also his appeal in the garden for deliverance at the last hour. There must have been an infinite anguish ahead to compel him to ask for another way. We get the clearest hint in the grievous prayer from the cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" There must have been some definite, conscious, agonizing break in the eternal love which had bound the Father and the Son together. Perhaps there was deeper truth than the ancient for-mulators of the creed knew in those strange words: "He descended into hell." No—of all the griefs in the world that of Jesus while he was on the cross and while his body lay in the grave, is unique. Its depth, its duration, none can know. They counted the hours he spent on the cross and the hours in the grave. But what eternities of spirit anguish he underwent we may never know. But, praise God! they were enough to shock every penitent soul that hears of it into a new life, a life in which sin is hated and righteousness loved, a life of which the crucified and risen Saviour is the eternal Light and the never-failing hope and joy.