Sermon #1798                                                                     Miscellaneous Sermons


      Title:                                                         Gethsemane,

Gabbatha and Gogoltha


      Text:                                 Psalm 69:20

      Subject:               Our Savior’s Broken Heart

      Date:                                Sunday Morning — June 14, 2009

      Tape #                 Z-66b

      Reading: Psalm 69:1-36



While visiting with Bro. Mark Henson and his family at the hospital last Monday afternoon, Mark told me something that took me by surprise. Trying to determine the cause of Regina’s heart problem, one of her doctors asked Mark if she had recently experienced a great loss, or acute emotional stress. Then he said, the doctor told him about a medical condition, a heart ailment that was first diagnosed in Japan and has since been confirmed numerous times called “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy.” Now, this is the thing I found surprising: This condition is more commonly known as “Broken Heart Syndrome.” It causes severe heart failure and is often fatal. In other words, it is quite possible for someone in good health to die of a broken heart.


I am not at all surprised by that fact. I was, however, surprised that it is a fact now supported by medical science. Two hundred and seventy-five years ago, Sir James Young Simpson, a medical doctor wrote…


“Mental emotions and passions are well known by all to affect the actions of the heart, in the way of palpitation, fainting, etc. That these emotions and passions, when in overwhelming excess, occasionally, though rarely, produce laceration or rupture of the walls of the heart, is stated by most medical authorities who have written on the affections of this organ.”


Did you notice that two hundred and seventy-five years ago, Dr. Simpson wrote as a commonly accepted fact that that muscle in your chest, that organ that is the very seat of life, your heart has something to do with your feelings, emotions and affections? That, of course, is the common language of Holy Scripture. It was, prior to Charles Darwin’s nonsense, accepted as medical, scientific fact. Then, men got smart and decided that such terms were too biblically based to be received as medical, scientific fact.


That’s the thing I found surprising: — Medical science, it appears, might be catching up to Divine Revelation![1]


As soon as Mark told me about what Regina’s doctor called “Broken Heart Syndrome,” Psalm 69:20 came to my mind and has been on my mind incessantly for the past week. Mark probably didn’t notice it, but after he and I finished talking a sat quietly in the midst of our friends in the waiting room for some time, thinking about our blessed Lord Jesus, whose heart was broken for us.


Here, in Psalm 69, our Savior speaks. He is crying out to His Father and our Father, His God and our God, as our Substitute, bearing our sins, and suffering the judgment of God for our sins. Five times in this Psalm, he speaks of the reproach he endured.


(Psalms 69:7) Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.


(Psalms 69:9) For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.


(Psalms 69:10) When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.


(Psalms 69:19) Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.


Then, in our text, our Savior cries, — “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness!” Look at Psalm 22:14, where we see the Lord Jesus speaking of the same thing, as He was hanging on the cursed tree, bearing our sin in His own body on the tree.


(Psalms 22:14) I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.


There are three places described in the New Testament in connection with the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, three places directly connected with the reproach He bore for us: — Gethsemane, Gabbatha and Golgotha. In Gethsemane our dear Redeemer was assaulted by Satan and all the forces of hell. At Gabbatha we see Him suffering from the assaults of men. And at Golgotha the Lord Jesus was assaulted by God Himself.. The more time we spend in these three places with our Savior, the more familiar we are with them, the more we mediate upon them, the better. The title of my message this morning is Gethsemane, Gabbatha and Golgotha. I want us to reverently follow our Lord Jesus through these three places of suffering and sorrow through which He passed as our Substitute, drinking the cup of woe for us.




First, let’s trace our Lord’s steps through dark Gethsemane the night before He laid down His life for us on Calvary’s cursed hill. In Gethsemane the Lord Jesus was assaulted by the prince of darkness, the dragon of hell who is in a rage because “he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Gethsemane is one of those spots on earth that ought to be sacred in the memories of redeemed sinners because it was a place to which the Lord Jesus often resorted. In fact, He may have visited Gethsemane more often, during the days of His earthly ministry, than any other (Matthew 26:36-46).


(Matthew 26:36-46) Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. (37) And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. (38) Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. (39) And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (40) And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? (41) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (42) He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. (43) And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. (44) And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. (45) Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. (46) Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.


Here, in dark Gethsemane, our Lord withdrew Himself from Peter, James and John, about a stone’s cast, that He might be alone with His heavenly Father in prayer, as Satan and hell and all the powers of darkness assaulted His holy soul more furiously than He had ever been assaulted before. The Jews call Gethsemane Ge-hennomin, or hell. Here the Lord Jesus began to endure our hell, as our Substitute, bearing the weight of our sin and guilt. Here, in Gethsemane, the Lord of Glory encountered the powers of darkness for us.


Š      It was in a garden that the first Adam and his posterity were lost. — To the Garden of Gethsemane the Lord Jesus came to recover the forfeited inheritance.


Š      Did the devil begin in the Garden the ruin of man? Then in Gethsemane the Son of God would begin to conquer hell for man’s recovery.


Š      Did Satan, from the garden, bind and carry captive the first Adam? It was from a garden also that he caused the second Adam to be bound and carried away to the cross, ,”that he, by death, might destroy him that had the power of death — that is, the devil; and deliver them who, through fear of death, are all their life-time subject to bondage.”


What was the cause of that great heaviness and sorrow that our Savior endured in Gethsemane? What was it that crushed our Master’s heart? What so greatly disturbed him?

Š      Not The Fear Of Physical Pain.

Š      Not The Fear Of Death.

Š      Not Even the Fear Of Dying Upon The Cross.


That which crushed our Savior’s heart was the anticipation of being made sin for us. The heavy, heavy burden which crushed his very soul was the enormous load of sin and guilt, the sin and guilt of all God’s elect which was about to be imputed to him.


Our Savior’s great sorrow was caused by his anticipation of being made sin for us. “It was,” wrote J.C. Ryle, “a sense of the unutterable weight of our sins and transgressions which were then specially laid upon him.”

Š      He who knew no sin was about to be made sin for us!

Š      He who is the only man really who knows what sin is, the only man who sees sin as God, was about to become sin!

Š      He who is the holy, harmless, undefiled Lamb of God, was about to be made a curse for us.

Š      The holy Son of God was about to be forsaken by his Father.


Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, “began to be sore amazed” to be in great consternation and astonishment, at the sight of all the sins of his people coming upon him; at the black storm of wrath, that was gathering thick over him; at the sword of justice which was brandished against him; and at the curses of the righteous law, which, like thunderbolts of vengeance from heaven, were directed at him. No wonder the verse closes by telling us that, in consideration of these things, our Savior began “to be very heavy!


But Luke is the only Gospel writer who was inspired to tell us about our Savior’s bloody sweat (22:44). Perhaps the Spirit of God used Luke alone to describe this for us because Luke was a medical doctor. Like the Broken Heart Syndrome, acute stress can cause a man to sweat blood.


(Luke 22:44) And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.


O my soul, what acute stress the Lord Jesus experienced when He anticipated being made sin for me!

  • Stress enough to break His holy heart!’
  • Stress enough to rupture the blood vessels around His sweat glands and cause His holy body to be drenched in His own blood!

That which crushed our Savior’s very heart and soul was the very thing for which he came into the world: — THE PROSPECT OF WHAT HE MUST ENDURE AS OUR SUBSTITUTE.


Solemn Gethsemane! Hallowed spot! Here let us often come and contemplate the Lord Jesus, our blessed Surety, groaning, yet conquering; pressed under all the hellish malice of the devil, yet triumphing over all; deserted by his disciples, sweatiug a bloody sweet, sustaining the wrath of offended justice, drinking the cup of trembling!


Is this Gethsemane? Oh, blessed Lamb of God, blessed paschal Lamb! Here bring me often. Here show me Your love that is better than wine. As Your joy was here turned into sorrow, give me grace to see how the curse that I deserved, the curse You endured, was made to be the salvation of my soul. Hail sacred Gethsemane! But we must move on to…




Here we see the Lord Jesus suffering horrid reproach still (John 19:13-16). Here, at Gabbatha, the Son of God was assaulted by men, by sinners, by the will and the hands of foul, wicked men.


(John 19:1-16) Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. (2) And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, (3) And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. (4) Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. (5) Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! (6) When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. (7) The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. (8) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; (9) And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. (10) Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? (11) Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. (12) And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. (13) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. (14) And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! (15) But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. (16) Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.


Here, at Gabbatha, at Pilate’s judgment hall, the Lord Jesus, Who was betrayed by His own familiar friend in Gethsemane, was…

Š      Scourged (Matthew 27:26). — “The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows” (Psalm 129:3).
Š      Mocked by the soldiers and crowned with thorns (Matthew 27:26-29).
Š      His Beard plucked from His face (Isaiah 50:6).
Š      He was condemned to die (John 19:13-16).


But our Lord’s reproach, our reproach, the reproach of our guilt and sin, the reproach which broke His heart was not over yet. No, not nearly over! Let’s follow Him on to…




Upon Golgotha’s horrid hill the Lord of Glory was assaulted by His Father.


(John 19:17-18) And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: (18) Where they crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.


Here is the climax of our Savior’s obedience and the climax of His sorrow. Here He is, reproach breaking His heart, betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, forsaken by all, crucified between two thieves, and finally, abandoned by His Father.


(Psalms 22:1-3) My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (2) O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. (3) But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.


(Psalms 22:6) But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.


(Psalms 22:14) I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.


(Psalms 40:12) For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.


(Lamentations 1:12) Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.


Why this agony? Why this reproach? Why this broken heart? Why such a horrid, horrid death?


(Isaiah 52:13-15) Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. (14) As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: (15) So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.


(Isaiah 53:1-10) Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? (2) For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (3) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.


(2 Corinthians 5:21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


Our blessed Savior died with a broken heart; but, blessed be His name, He did not die of a broken heart. Yonder, hanging upon the cursed tree, is a man who is God our Savior, with a broken heart that would have been fatal to any other human hours before, who died in complete triumph over sin, and death, and hell (Colossians 2:14-15; John 19:30).


(Colossians 2:14-15) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.


(John 19:30) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.


In evil long I took delight,

Unawed by shame or fear,

Till a new object struck my sight,

And stopped my wild career.


Oh, can it be that on the tree

The Savior died for me?

My soul is thrilled, my heart is filled,

To think He died for me!


I saw One hanging on a tree,

In agonies and blood,

Who fixed his languid eyes on me,

As near his cross I stood.


Sure never till my latest breath

Can I forget that look;

It seemed to charge me with his death,

Though not a word he spoke.


My conscience felt and owned the guilt,

And plunged me in despair;

I saw my sins his blood had spilt,

And helped to nail him there.


A second look He gave, which said,

“I freely all forgive;

This blood is for thy ransom paid;

I die that thou may’st live.”


Oh, can it be that on the tree

The Savior died for me?

My soul is thrilled, my heart is filled,

To think He died for me!






Don Fortner



Listen to sermons at



[1] I have no idea when medical science first recognized Broken Heart Syndrome (Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy); but I found nothing written on the subject prior to 2002.