Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” Matthew 26:36
Jesus was not a victim of circumstance. He was not swept up by the events around Him. Every moment of His entire life was part of a divine plan laid down before time began. Each stop on the journey to Easter was purposeful and planned. Last week we stopped in the Upper Room. Today’s stop is the Garden at Gethsemane.
The name Gethsemane means olive press. How fitting. It was here Jesus faced a spiritual test beyond our imagination. The content of the temptations are not recorded, but Jesus’s prayers are. “If there is any other way, let this cup — the cup of divine wrath and judgment — pass.” A few verses later He says, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” That’s not simply a proverb. Jesus speaks from His experience just moments earlier and just yards away.
One remarkable thing about Gethsemane is that even in these moments of deep struggle and anguish, Jesus never stopped teaching His followers, and in this crucial moment, He taught them how to handle crushing sorrow and anguish. We can take those lessons to heart when we find ourselves in a crucible.
He enlisted the support of His friends. Granted, they failed Him. But He didn’t head off to the Garden alone. He wanted His friends close by. They guarded the entrance to the garden and kept watch so He could pray without being interrupted. He invited His closest friends to pray with and for Him.
Then He prayed for the support of His Father. He was strikingly honest, yet unwaveringly reverent. He was persistent and when He faced His enemies it was with the resolve and strength the Father sent.
We will go through intense periods of trial, sorrow, and anguish. Count on it. Thankfully, this stop on our journey to Easter gives us Jesus’s own example on how to face it.
Next stop: The Chamber