Bible Commentary: “A Place Called Gethsemane” The Days Of LentApril 6, 2012 at 12:30 am | Posted in Bible Commentary | Leave a comment
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“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”(Matthew 26:36 NIV) “They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”(Mark 14:32 NIV)
Gethsemane now means “a place of great suffering” but it originally meant “oil-press”, as it was the name of an olive-yard at the foot of the Mount of Olives, in a garden East of Jerusalem that Jesus was fond of.
Thursday night, the last night of His earthly life, Jesus has finished His supper with His friends, Judas has gone to betray Him, His time is very short, actually less than 24 hours, so they sing a song and go to Olivet, “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives”(Matthew 26:30 NIV). This was the time of the great feast, they had enjoyed a good meal and sang a song and now they went to the garden to enjoy the night and the breezes and the aromas of the plants and flowers. Yet, Jesus is greatly distressed and rightly so as He is well aware of what the next thirteen hours will bring; He knows all that will be done to Him and He knows why. He needs His friends, the eleven that remain to Him to be there for Him so they go to the garden and He tells them to wait while He takes Peter, James and John separately on ahead.
Then He needs to be alone so He separates Himself after asking them to pray. “He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:33-36 NIV). “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow” (Luke 22:41-45 NIV).
The disciples were exhausted from sorrow so they slept, Jesus had told them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me”(Matthew 26:36 NIV). Their best friend whom they had seen do all manner of miracles was in need, for them, and they looked at their own distress, forgot about Him and went to sleep. For one hour Jesus was separate from friends, family, human comfort of any kind; the Prince of Peace was in distress and He fell to the ground and sought God for help. And God heard Him, and helped Him.
Child of God – In Gethsemane Jesus was hard pressed and what flowed from Him was submission to the will of The Father. Jesus knew why He was about to die and didn’t blame mankind for their sin, He submitted. Jesus struggled in His prayers and didn’t accuse God of not hearing Him, He submitted to the strength of God to do His will. Jesus remembered that God is sovereign and that He has a plan specifically tailored to each of us and He submitted to the will of God. There will come a moment in each of our lives when we are alone in a garden in the dark. At that moment, if we do not know the specific will of God for our life then the presence of eleven friends or a spouse will do us no good. We need to throw ourselves to the ground, submit to God’s will and cry out, “not my will, but yours be done.”
Lord, I know now after a long time of following you that everyone of us have to go at some point through a “Gethsemane” experience. We need to let go of our own will so yours can be established in our lives. That is what I want Lord. Thank you for all the moments like that that I have gone through; though painful, they have taught me to just let go and trust in you. Knowing that you know better and that your purposes are always the best for me, even when they don’t seem like they are. Help me to live with the attitude of constant release so nothing matters more to me than you and your perfect will for my life. Amen.
If you want to have a personal relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior pray: “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and that out of love for me you willingly sacrificed your life so that I may live. I repent of all my sins and open my heart to you as my Lord and Savior. Amen.
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