A Place Called Gethsemane

jesus-praying

A couple of years ago Kelly and I watched a movie that took place in Ireland. I honestly can’t remember what the movie was about but I remember what it looked like. Afterward, we talked about how much we would like to visit Ireland someday. Chances are we can call think of places we would love to go and visit. For me, I would love to go to Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand. I would love to go to Ireland because my mom’s family is Irish, Scotland because my dad’s family is Scottish and New Zealand because that’s where they filed the Lord of the Rings and who wouldn’t want to visit Middle Earth.

At the same time, there are places I’d rather not go. These aren’t necessarily bad places, they are just places that I have no desire to go visit. I’m sure we all have places we’d rather not have to go and visit.

In the blog this week we are going to visit a place that I’m sure we’d all rather not go. It’s not really a place of joy and peace. It’s more of a place of anguish and suffering. It is the site of one of the greatest spiritual battles the world has ever known. It’s a place called Gethsemane. It is the place where are Savior wrestled in prayer before His betrayal and crucifixion. In Gethsemane, we see the humanity of Jesus more than we do anywhere else. In Gethsemane, we see Him struggle with the Father’s will and the suffering that was coming.

Studying about Jesus struggle in Gethsemane would be a powerful study all by itself. However, as we look at what happened in Gethsemane, we quickly realize that it is a place we have either visited or we will visit. Our suffering won’t be the same as Jesus’ suffering. His suffering was very uniquely His because of the mission He came to accomplish.  That doesn’t mean there is nothing we can learn from this. If you think about it, all suffering is unique to the sufferer. A tragedy in one family can affect each family member in a different way. They will suffer the same problem but they may well suffer in different ways. The one thing that will be consistent is that they will visit a place called Gethsemane.

Several commentators have remarks that are worthy of mention about Gethsemane.

James Montgomery Boice says, “The Bible contains passages that we often handle lightly, thinking either rightly or wrongly that they are not of first importance. But other passages draw us up short and seem to cry out sharply, ‘Take off your shoes, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ This is especially true of the accounts of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in which he asked that if it were possible, the cup that he had been given to drink might be taken from him.[1]

Charles Spurgeon says, “Here we come to the Holy of Holies of our Lord’s life on earth. This is a mystery like that which Moses saw when the bush burned with fire, and was not consumed. No man can rightly expound such a passage as this; it is a subject for prayerful, heart-broken meditation, more than for human language.” [2]

I loved these remarks because they show such reverence for what we are going to study. This passages that show Jesus in Gethsemane aren’t light, happy passages. Neither are they dark and depressing passages. They are solemn and reverent passages. In these passages we peer in at one of the most intimate of moments in Jesus’ life. If I can use this wording, we are seeing Jesus at His most vulnerable.

What can we learn from Jesus’ time in Gethsemane that will prepare us for arrival in Gethsemane? That’s what I’m going to write about this week.

For further study read Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42 and Luke 22:39-46.

How do these passages describe the way Jesus feels?

What do Jesus’ friends do in these passages?

What does Jesus pray?

What are some initial thoughts you have about what you can learn from this time in Jesus’ life?


[1] Boice Expositional Commentary – The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 2: The Triumph of the King (Matthew 18-28).

[2] Ibid.

 

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