Does the word “Gethsemane” bring any thoughts or images to your mind? One Bible scholar made this statement: “In a very real sense, Calvary began in the Garden of Gethsemane.” We will find that statement to be true as we look at what the Bible says.
Verse 26 says, “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” They were heading for the Garden of Gethsemane, which was called the “place of the olive press”. The symbolism is pretty gruesome. In Isaiah 53, the prophet Isaiah prophecies about Christ’s death and in verse five he says, “He was crushed for our iniquities”, just as the olives were crushed in the olive press each year. The olive oil was used both for food and for medicine. Jesus was about to have His life crushed out of Him so that he might be food and medicine for our souls.
Verses 33-35 describe Jesus’ emotional condition. He was “troubled and distressed”, and described Himself as “exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death”. Luke 22:43-44 gives some extra details concerning Christ’s agony. It says, “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” This phenomenon has only been documented a few times. The person was undergoing extreme mental, emotional and spiritual trauma. Small blood vessels underneath the skin of Jesus were breaking. That blood came through the pores of His skin along with His sweat. The sweating and the bleeding must have been profusely as it fell to the ground in large, red drops.
By sending that angel, I believe the Father was saying to His Son, “There is no other way to be the Savior of the world except the path of suffering and death.” Jesus would have to bear the sins of the world upon Himself and accept the cup of the Father’s wrath for sin.
In verse 36 Jesus said, “Not my will but Thine be done,” Once Jesus understood the Father’s will, He submitted Himself to it and His attitude changed. He was ready to pay the price.
There are many lessons that can be learned from this experience in the life of Jesus. The following are a few of them for our consideration and instruction.
First, as we experience the trials, struggles, and temptations of life, remember that we are not alone. In Isaiah 41:10, God says, “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be anxious for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.”
Secondly, God is all-powerful, but He is also sovereign. Jesus said to His Father, “All things are possible with You”, but He also said, “Not what I will but what You will.”
Thirdly, trials come that we might learn obedience and gain victory over them by God’s power. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered.” Therefore He is qualified to be our High Priest. Hebrews 2:18 says, “For because He Himself has suffered and been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted.
Let’s follow the example of our Lord, Jesus Christ, experience the joy and victory that only He can give, and be used by Him to help and encourage others.