The Garden

“Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[d] with me.’ 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:36-39 ESV).

Anyone who knows me very well knows that I don’t have a green thumb. I am a plant killer. I try. I really do! I set out with the best intentions of being a good plant mom with a beautiful flower bed. Somehow, my plants always wind up dying despite my best efforts. Don’t even ask about my Japanese Maple, may it rest in peace. It has become a little bit of a joke in my family. Give me all the fake plants, and let’s just call it a day.

Gardens are places of intentional growth for provision. If tenderly cared for, what grows in the garden can produce beauty and sustenance. But our fall began in one, too- the disobedience of all of mankind in Eden. There was another beginning that occurred in a garden thousands of years later, in Gethsemane, where Jesus’ obedience began the restoration of the created to the Creator. Sin and death never really stood a chance. God always had a plan for our redemption.

After the Last Supper, Jesus and His disciples move to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, a garden Jesus frequented often in His travels. This was a location known for its huge olive trees. Gethsemane actually means “oil press.” The process of retrieving olive oil involves the deliberate crushing and bruising of the olives. For the oil to pour forth, the olive is utterly destroyed beyond recognition. As Jesus enters this garden, He is preparing to be bruised and crushed for our sin, as prophesied in Isaiah: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53: 5). And the knowledge of this impending pain is agonizing for Him.

There in the garden, hours before His arrest, the Savior of the world prays the most desperate prayer ever known to man: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26: 39 ESV). Don’t miss that! The Messiah asks His Father for another way. Wow.

Here are a few things we can take away from this scene:

1. Jesus understands pain.

When scripture states that Jesus was in a state of sorrow and agony, I am reminded of His humanity. It is sometimes easy to forget that our Messiah was fully man, fully capable of feeling pain, fully terrified of the brutality of the cross. Jesus was familiar with the details of crucifixion. Jesus was also fully aware of what He was about to shoulder- the weight of our sins. All sin. Separation from the Father in order to redeem the lost sheep. And this truth caused Him unfathomable agony. This convicts me because my sin is what caused His pain, His separation. I have prayed desperate prayers for healing and forgiveness, for wisdom and safety. But I have never prayed a prayer as desperate as the prayer of Jesus here in Gethsemane. None of us ever will. We will never know the anguish of bearing the sins of the world and having the Father turn His face away. We are spared God’s wrath because Jesus endured it.

2. Jesus wanted the Father’s will more than He wanted relief.

This is the most incredible part. Yes, Jesus has compassion for our pain because He knows ultimate pain. Yes, He understands our desperate prayers because He has prayed the most desperate prayer. His prayer exemplified a life bowed down to the Father: “not as I will, but as you will.” There it is- His heart and His body physically prostrated before the Father in a posture of worship. My prayers don’t often look this way. No amount of anguish could make Him deny the Father’s will. While Jesus begged for this cup to pass, He resigned to do God’s will, even if it meant that He would be crucified. This one is so tough for us to model. We beg for relief from painful circumstances, from sickness, from death. But sometimes, we will walk through hardships, and our suffering can be an avenue to know Him more deeply. We have a Savior who sees; we have a Savior who knows.

There in Eden, all of mankind fell to sin. But there in Gethsemane, Jesus’ obedience paved the way to our redemption. Spend some time today in prayer, remembering His agony and sacrifice.

Written by Alecia Bryant

Alecia lives in West Monroe, Louisiana, and she teaches high school English. She is married to Chris, and they have two beautiful children, Parker and Avery. Alecia is passionate about God’s Word, leading worship, and writing. She also loves to travel and scope out her next favorite Mexican restaurant 🙂 Alecia is a firm believer in the Lord’s unwavering goodness and kindness, even in seasons of heartache. Go follow her blog at wovenword.org to find encouragement about weaving God’s Word into everyday life!

4 Replies to “The Garden”

  1. Reading this was such a beautiful way to start Good Friday. Alecia, God is working through your words in a mighty way! Friday’s here, but Sunday’s coming.✝️

  2. Wonderful lesson on Jesus’s intimate conversation with the Father before he took our sin upon Himself. It makes me feel so precious to Him , that He would suffer and die for me because I was hopeless to save myself! Praise Jesus , that He loved humanity enough to lay down His will and take up the Fathers ! Blessings on this Easter weekend 🙏🏻!

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