As I read of Gethsemane, I’m taken back to standing in that very garden in June 2019.
As Jesus prays to his Father in Gethsemane, Jesus experiences deep sorrow, pain and grief. Like no other place in the Scriptures do we get such a picture into his emotional life.
Gethsemane literally means 'olive press'. It was a place where olives from the neighbourhood were crushed for their oil. And here we see Jesus at his most emotionally fragile moment as he shudders at the horrible 'pressing' that is before him.
This is his last chance to run, the point of no return. Tomorrow he will bear all of God’s anger and wrath against the sin of humanity.
We justly get angry about rape, murder, selfishness, greed, and God does too, on an even grander scale. Repeatedly in the Old Testament, ‘the cup’ is a vivid picture of the wrath and judgment of God. Because of his great love for us, Jesus chooses to drink the cup of his Father’s fury so that we would not have to.
Jesus doesn’t know if he can bear this responsibility and pain. He is looking for another option. He pleads the Father for another way. He begs for the cup to pass. But he willingly gathers himself, and chooses to obey his Father's will.
In the really tough moments of our life, when we are intensely tested, we need deep motivation to pull us through. Motivation that isn’t shallow or trivial.
You may have experienced someone yelling at you to keep going or giving you Incentives. This kind of motivation isn’t sufficient for such a significant sacrifice. The motivation needs to be bigger than the difficulty of the task.
Hebrews 12:3 gives us a window into Jesus's motivation—“for the joy set before him he endured the cross”. Jesus willingly embraces his Father's will because of the future joy he will taste. His motivation is relationship. Jesus endured the anguish of the cross so he could have intimacy with you!
What courage! What love! No other religious leader or worldview demonstrates such costly love.
“Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will. ” Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.””
Mark 14:32-42 NKJV