The Garden of Gethsemane
Mark 14:32-34 NLT
32 They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. 34 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Jesus says, “My soul is crushed with grief…” another translation states “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow.”
The point of the verse is not lost, Jesus is deeply troubled and distressed (vs 33).
Most of us don’t imagine Jesus as ever being in a state of trouble or distress. Yet, Scripture is plain. Jesus was both full God and fully human. Here we see a glimpse of the humanity of Jesus.
Yet a question lingers, If Jesus knew all things, why would He be in distress and His soul be troubled? The church father Augustine asks the question of Jesus:
“How can you ask my soul to follow you when I see your own in so much turmoil?”
Again he says, “many martyrs have gone to their death much more calm, stoic and joyful? Why [the] agony?”
Could it be that other martyrs have simply endured the painful reality of an untimely death?
Could it be that death came not by their consent nor was it within their power to change?
Jesus however, was the one and unique Son of God who had infinite power at his disposal. He could have chosen to put an end to the undeserving death he was to experience. Could he not call forth legions of angels on his behalf and instantly deliver him from this impending trial, mockery and tortuous death? With simply a word, could He not reveal to the world the power and majesty that were His?
In a sense all of his power was bottled up by choice.
It was contained tightly for two reasons.
One, he deliberately chose complete obedience to the Father which meant suffering and death.
Secondly, he contained his power out of love to save and reconcile those who would believe in him from eternal destruction. Indeed, Jesus had every legal and spiritual right to put an end to this treatment because He was the one and only spotless, sinless person to walk the face of the earth. Jesus, the righteous one, denied his right to defend himself and denied the use of his divine power.
He knew that the only way to bring true fellowship between humanity and God was to atone for sin. It was more than a mere martyr’s death. Jesus was to become a curse for us. He was to be separated from His Father. He was to carry the entire weight of the sins of the world upon Him. We cannot imagine the trouble His soul experienced.
The place His soul experienced this grief was in Gethsemane. It was an olive orchard named, “Gethsemane” which literally means olive press. From the pressing of olives comes forth olive oil. The harder the olive is pressed the more oil is squeezed from the olive. Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, was squeezed so much that he bled drops of blood. He knew the weight of the sins of the world would soon be upon Him. He was under an enormous amount of pressure knowing that he would be separated from HIs Father. He would soon become a curse in order to redeem the world.
This pressure however, soon inaugurated the power and oil of the Holy Spirit for you and me. Hallelujah! Jesus was willing to despise the shame and endure the cross for the joy set before him! He knew that unless He went to the Father the Holy Spirit would not come. (John 16:5-7) Today, rejoice that Jesus willingly suffered so that we may have eternal life and the power of the Holy Spirit!