Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane 

In the Garden

Lessons from Gethsemane



GETHSEMANE::  A garden near Jerusalem, where Jesus prayed. The word means, literally, "oil press." From two words: gath (from NAGAN, Heb.), "wine-press"; and shemen, (from SHAMAN, Heb.) meaning "grease, especially liquid (as from the olive); figuratively referring to anointing, fruitfulness, ointment, oil, olive."

Jesus was under severe pressure in the Garden of Gethsemane, while he struggled in prayer - releasing his burden to the Father's will: "if possible, let this cup pass... yet not my will, but Thine be done." Following is the full text of Matthew 26:36-44, followed by personal insights.

Matthew 26:36-44

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt." And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done." And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more....

Some insights on this text:

1. Jesus was "grieved and distressed" in prayer. (v. 37)  He did not put on an air of pretense.

2. Jesus confessed verbally his feelings of grief. (v. 38) He did not pretend anything.

3. Jesus fell on his face when he prayed; it was a consuming prayer. (v. 39)

4. Jesus prayed, "If it is possible..." His "if" did not suggest unbelief; rather, it indicates the sense of urgency with which he prayed. Just like us, he had to keep on praying, till he found that place of surrender to the Father.

5. In fact, Jesus prayed "the same thing" three times! (vv. 39, 42, 44) Repeatedly praying the same thing is not unbelief. Persistence is necessary, for a breakthrough - either in the circumstances or in our surrender to the Father's will.

Copyright 1998 Diane S. Dew



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