The Garden of Gethsemane is such a beautiful place. The olive trees, some of them hundreds of years old, stand as a reminder of the incredible history of this garden. A relief sculpture in the area catches my eye. The anguish and pain is captured beautifully by an artist’s hand. But regardless of how beautiful it was, everything came into focus when I learned the meaning of the word Gethsemane. From the Hebrew and Greek, the word gethsemane comes from “Gat” meaning a place where olives are pressed and “Shmani” meaning oil. The Israelites understood the scripture In Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Most families would have a grove of olive trees and an olive press. When we visited an olive press it really started to make sense to me. Olive oil actually comes mostly from the pit of the olive. The amount of pressure it takes to crush the pit is incredible. They use a very heavy stone that is rolled over the olives the crush them. Then the mush (for lack of a better word) is transferred into a bag of cloth and pressed in an olive press, squeezed so that every bit of oil drips out.
Questions keep ringing through my mind..Why? Why did God love us so much? Why did Jesus choose to be crushed for my transgressions? Why did God have a plan to save us? Why didn’t He just erase us all and start over? Why does He want to spend eternity with me?
Jesus Christ, God as man, cared and hurt and wept to the point of sweating blood. This is a real medical condition. Hematidrosis is a rare medical condition where one’s sweat will contain blood. The sweat glands are surrounded by tiny blood vessels that can squeeze and then expand to the point of rupturing. Then the blood gets into the sweat glands and come out with the sweat. Its cause is extreme anguish. Luke 22:44 – “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” Jesus knew what was coming. He was being crushed by the weight of all the sins of mankind past, present and future. My sins were there and so were yours.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Jesus certainly understands what it means to be pressed on all sides, crushed. Because of His sacrifice, this scripture comes to life! We are not in despair, not abandoned, not destroyed!
There are many discussions about Jesus asking God to “take this cup from me”. I am adding a link here for you to read an article that I found. It is wonderful and speaks to this issue in a way that brings it into perspective. https://www.challies.com/articles/take-this-cup-away-from-me
He drank my cup of God’s wrath for me down to the very last sip. He experienced the wrath of God and the separation from God for my sin and for yours. For me, His request for the cup to be removed form Him is the most beautiful picture of the humanness of my Savior and His unexplainable love for me.
I guess it seems appropriate that things would come full circle in God’s story. Human life started in a garden and the beginning of the end for Christ here on earth would happen in a garden.
As I stand in this garden, the Garden of Gethsemane, even with all the crowds around I can see Judas delivering the holy kiss to Jesus – possibly even as a mockery of Him as King of the Jews. (You can read up on that) I can hear the Roman guards and I can see the fear in the eyes of the disciples as they scatter. The time had come.
Jesus could have called it all off. He could have decided that we were not worth it. But He didn’t. He chose the path that provided a way for us. In that garden He chose to live love. He chose me. He chose you.