The body was involved in the fall of man- the inlet to the sin of the soul. In the working out of an atonement for sin, the body must also suffer. Our dear Lord’s entire exemption from a sinful nature did not exempt Him from a sensitive nature- a nature sensitive to physical suffering. The absence of sensibility to pain of body would have compromised the fact of His actual humanity. What an essential defect in His sympathy would have been His freedom from bodily pain! How could the Head then have sympathized with the members? The diseases which assail our frame, it is true, found no counterpart in Him; yet, was He not the less exempt from suffering of body.
Oh, was there no bodily agony in the laceration of the scourge, in the heavy blows of the clenched fist, in the plucking off the hair, in the thorn-crown, in the spikes impelled through the hands and the feet, in the thrust of the spear entering the side and piercing the heart of Jesus? Was there no torture in the long, lingering agony of the cross, the blood oozing from the wounds by drops, and life ebbing slowly by inches? How literally was verified His own prophetic words, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheek to those who plucked off the hair!” Hear His cry, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”- this cup of mortal agony. You, too, may thus be shrinking from bodily suffering. Does the weak flesh recoil from those agonies which no tongue can describe, which no skill can baffle, which no anodyne can soothe, and which no affection can prevent? Jesus can sympathize with you.
Do you think that He will desert you in this trial of your humanity, or make no allowance for the weakness of the flesh, the pain and nervousness, the agony and languor, the fainting and swooning which so much interferes with your soul’s enjoyment, beclouds your mental powers, and prevents those spiritual exercises of reading, meditation, and prayer in which you have been wont so happily to indulge? Ah, no! He is your fellow-sufferer! and when, in anticipation of the throes, the agonies, and the convulsions which rack the body with pain, the spirit fails, the flesh shrinks, and your trembling heart breathes to heaven its earnest, plaintive cry, “Father, if it be possible,”- you are at once in the closest sympathy with your Savior’s sensitiveness to bodily suffering, and He in sympathy with yours. Who will arrest that prayer?- not Jesus!