(Mark 14:32) Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane . . .
Gethsemane is the name of an olive-yard at the foot of the Mount of Olives where Jesus frequently gathered with His disciples because of its secluded garden-like environment (Luke 22:39). The name actually means “olive press” and refers to how oil presses were used to extract oil from the olive fruit. How prophetic because this is what Jesus experienced there the night of His betrayal.
The evening started out festive. It was Passover and the disciples had a traditional Seder meal in an upper room prepared for the occasion. That night Jesus introduced the Lord’s Supper (communion) and washed the disciple’s feet. It was also the night where Judas left early so he could have Jesus arrested. When the dinner was completed, Jesus and the eleven made their way down to the Kidron Valley, over the brook, and up the ascent of the Mount of Olives and into the garden enclosure of Gethsemane. Though they were under a full moon, a strange darkness enveloped this nocturnal assembly and an eerie stillness seized the atmosphere.
The first thing Jesus did was tell His disciples to sit down while He prayed in the distance with Peter, James and John. He began to be deeply distressed. He told the trio that His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Then He asked them to stay and be in a watchful mode with Him. Jesus went a little farther and He knelt down and prayed. His prayer was fervent and intense. “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” At that moment an angel appeared to Him from heaven and strengthened Him. He prayed even more fervently and in such agony. The intense supplication produced body trauma, and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground. When He got up from prayer He came to His disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow.
Calvary was won in Gethsemane! It was there that Jesus yielded His will to the Father to suffer and die for the sins of all humanity. That’s why Jesus could yield Himself to Judas and his arresting band. That’s why He could suffer all night at the hands of evil men. And that’s why in the morning He would let them drive the nails through His hands and feet into a wretched Roman cross to bleed and die.
What about you? Are you experiencing a Gethsemane in your life right now? Are you being pressed like never before? Are you in agony of soul over something you are being called to do that is against your nature? Then it’s time to pray, “Your will be done!” God will strengthen you to choose the Father’s will, as painful as that may be. Jesus died, but He also rose again for our salvation. The best things come when we choose God’s will over our own!