Certain Greeks, who came up to Jerusalem to worship at the feast, made their request to the disciples: “We would see Jesus” (John 12:21, KJV). The Lord Jesus began to tell them of the sufferings that would be necessary before any Greeks or Gentiles could truly worship God, saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24, KJV). No wonder that three verses later He said, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27, KJV). His soul was troubled, thinking of the infinite sufferings that would be necessary before any Gentiles such as we could ever worship God.
The anguish of His soul while receiving such cruel treatment
Joseph is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus in so many ways. When his brethren came to Egypt to buy bread, they did not recognize him, but he recognized them (Gen 42:8). He spoke roughly to them (Gen 42:7) because he wanted to reach their conscience for their blessing. He heard them say one to another, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us” (Gen 42:21, KJV).
Surely the Lord Jesus had anguish of soul receiving such cruel treatment. He willingly gave Himself to their treatment, saying, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Immediately after saying that, He declared, “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Isa 50:6-7, KJV).
That statement naturally links with Luke 9:51 (KJV): “When the time came that He should be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,” and nothing could turn Him aside. It also links with Mark 10:32: “And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid.” They all knew that it was dangerous for Him to go to Jerusalem. At one time they had said to Him, “Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest Thou thither again?” (John 11:8, KJV). Since they were amazed, how much more should we be amazed? We know what they did not know (even though He had told them): The Lord wasn’t just going to a dangerous place, He was going to certain death, and He told them so again.
The exceeding sorrowfulness of His soul in Gethsemane
The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death” (Matt 26: 38). None of us can measure the exceeding sorrowfulness of His soul in anticipation of drinking that cup that was full of wrath because of our sins. The Lord Jesus fell on His face and first prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt 26:39, KJV). He prayed differently the second time, “O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done” (Matt 26:42, KJV). Then He prayed the third time, saying the same words (Matt 26:44).
Later, when Peter wanted to fight for Him, He said, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11, KJV). He willingly took that cup from His Father’s hand. Surely every child of God can thank Him for Christ’s willingness to drink the cup of God’s wrath for God’s glory and our salvation.
The Suffering of His Soul on the Cross
The first two verses of Psalm 69, a Messianic Psalm, tell of the suffering of His soul on the cross, “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me” (KJV). Surely every child of God can gratefully sing the whole of Hymn 230 of our Believer’s Hymnbook, especially verse 3:
See the waves and billows roll
O’er His sinless spotless soul;
O my soul, it was for thee!
Praise Him, praise Him cheerfully.