The word Gethsemane means an olive press and no doubt was a garden of olives. It is a strange and lovely thing to think of all the nameless friends who rallied around Jesus in the last days. There was the man who gave him the ass on which he rode into Jerusalem, there was the man who gave him the Upper Room where the Last Super was celebrated and there is the man who gave him the right of entry to the Garden on the Mt. of Olives.
In the garden he took the three who had been with him on the Mt of Transfiguration and there he prayed. He wrestled in prayer. We look with reverence on the battle of Jesus’s soul in the garden we see certain things:
We see the agony of Jesus. He was now quite sure that death lay ahead. Its very breath was on him. No one wants to die at 33 and least of all does any man want to die in the agony of a cross. Here Jesus had his supreme struggle to submit his will to the will of God. No one can read this story without seeing the intense reality of that struggle. This was no play-acting; it was a struggle in which the outcome swayed in the balance. The salvation of the world was at risk in the Garden of Gethsemane, for even then Jesus might have turned back, and God’s purpose would have been frustrated.
At this moment all that Jesus knew was that he must go on, and ahead their lay a cross. In all reverence we may say that here we see Jesus learning the lesson that everyone must someday learn – how to accept what he could not understand. All he knew was that the will of God summoned him on. Things happen to every one of us in this world that we cannot understand; it is then that faith is tried to its utmost limits, and at such a time it is sweetness to the soul that in Gethsemane Jesus went through that too. Every one of us has his private Gethsemane and every man has to learn to say “Your will be done”.
We also see the loneliness of Jesus. He took with him his three chosen disciples, but they were so exhausted with the drama of these last days and hours that they could not stay awake. Jesus had to fight his battle all alone. That also is true of every man. There are certain things a man must face and certain decisions a man must make in the awful loneliness of his own soul. Just remember that in our loneliness there is always the One who in Gethsemane, experienced it and came through it.
We see the courage of Jesus. Rise said Jesus let us be going. He who betrays me is nearby. The time for prayer, and the time for the garden is past. Now is the time for action. Let us have the courage to face life at its grimmest moments and still maintain our faith. In prayer a man enters heaven that he may face the battles of earth.