“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” (Matthew 26:36)
We’ve often overlooked this story — of how one Man spent his last few hours in a Garden called Surrender.
The Garden where he fought his most excruciating battle on one solitary night with a battered soul and a broken heart, sweating beads of blood on cold stony ground.
He knew what’d lay ahead of him — the thorny crown they’d press against his head, the scourging with lead-tipped whip that’d rip open his bruised, bloody back.
He foresaw it all — the coming torture and the mocking ridicule, the insult and the outright denial, even his very own crucifixion — yet he knew how the hope of humanity would hang delicate on the balance of His surrendered givenness.
This was unto God. And this was for us. His final surrender culminating through a series of His slow and steady obedience; taken faithfully and followed wholeheartedly every single step of every single way.
Really, it was Jesus’ meekness to His Father that placed Him there, but His love for us that kept Him there.
And in agony He pleaded: “take this cup away from me” — but each plea was precious, every pressing perfected His surrender and the deeper crushing tilted the world a little closer to divine will.
He wouldn’t budge from the love He was to give — this was the life He’d come to live —so He prayed “not my will, but Yours be done.”
Who’d realise that our redemption was first wrought in His broken rejection; our triumph in His deathly tragedy?
It’s true — every surrender is always an intersection of the two —- a cross between what must be and what one wants; a fight to want what God wills rather than what the flesh wants.
And the Garden saw it all — the climax of His stress and sorrow, His tears and fears.
“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch” (Mark 14:34)
He was alone and forsaken. Abandoned and rejected.
He was denied not only by the band of men He’d loved, but also of the bond with the Father He’d known.
On the ground of that Garden He suffered sorrow and suffering unbeknownst by both the heavens and all humanity.
Yet surrendered He did — love making the impossible passable — He bled hope into humanity so we are inked in all our poor, paltry and pandemic places — so we are forever saved from all our sin and sad and self.
Yet it was a night silent.
The angels were gone. The Father had turned His face. And the stench of death clouded over.
‘Gethsemane’ —- the name means “oil press.”
Like how you’d crush olives for oil to flow out.
Like how Christ was pressed on all sides so His life would flow and we could fill; all these internal and eternal crevices begging for a hope beyond all hope, a reason for living, a joy beyond tomorrow, a life beyond the grave.
That surrendered moment became the significant movement.
It was like a mystery revealed, a prophesy fulfilled, and God showing He is altogether and always true.
The First Man whose fall occurred in a garden incurred the Final Man to redeem humanity through a garden.
The three round of pressing to remove every ounce of oil showed Jesus praying three times and begging His disciples three times — to stay awake, to tarry in prayer — this was exactly how He was to be crushed time and again to bear the whole weight of our past, present and future sin.
Gethsemane — that was where it all first happened.
His victory at Calvary was first and foremost a triumph over the trial beneath those gnarled olive trees. The pressing releases the anointing.
And Christ whose name means the Messiah, our Anointed One shows how a Kingdom full and forever has been firmly established on the ground of His sweet, given surrender.
He is, the hope and the healing of our every nation…
Resources For Your Holy Week : For A Meaningful Family Celebration
- The Grapevine Studies on the Resurrection — these are what we’ve been doing and they are fun, simple and easy to do! Children of multiple ages will find them interesting and engaging. And the best thing about it? – Parents can delve right into the study of the Scriptures along their household of littles doodlers!
- A wonderful Easter Online Bible study by Max Lucado — we’ve loved studying along with Max, watching and discussing the lessons on who Jesus really is, especially in the light of our current pandemic. Thank you, StudyGateway for making these resources available.
- Guided Scripture audio reading by Dwell app: specific passages for Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday — an app worth subscribing for 🙂
- A truly beautiful sight and sound theatrical performance of JESUS by TBN — filmed in front of live audience and simply, state-of-the-art theatrical stage quality seen by over a million people! This one has our family captured in awe and stuck to the screen. A must see for all and made available for FREE on demand during Easter weekend only (April 10-12)!
May God truly bless you this Good Friday — much love from our family to yours!