After celebrating their Passover meal, Jesus and His disciples went to a garden called Gethsemane, which literally means “olive press.” The garden was located on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. Olives from the neighborhood were brought and crushed there producing oil for Jerusalem and the surrounding region. The name seems fitting since Jesus would be taken away from that garden. He would be crushed and His grace distributed not just to Jerusalem and the region, but to the whole world.
At Gethsemane, Jesus grieved because He knew what was going to happen. In part, He was distressed because He knew the physical horror that awaited Him (vv. 38–39). He also was exceedingly sorrowful because of the spiritual horror he was about to endure by standing in the place of guilty sinners and receiving their due punishment. Jesus’ prayers at Gethsemane centered on these words: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (v. 39). He prayed this not as a request, because God the Father would never deny the Son any request. Rather, Jesus’ prayer signifies both the severity of what was about to take place and His acceptance of surrendering His life to accomplish the will of His Father.
Repeatedly throughout the Old Testament, the cup is a powerful picture of God’s wrath and judgement. Who better than Jesus could fully understand God the Father’s wrath and judgement? Jesus wasn’t necessarily afraid of physical death, but rather, He was anticipating the judgment of all humanity’s sin. Before Judas the betrayer showed up at Gethsemane, Jesus the Redeemer, because of His love for the world, resolved that God the Father’s will would be done (vv. 39, 42).
>> Because Jesus received our judgement, you and I are counted innocent of our sin. Jesus surrendered His life for us. We too, ought to surrender our lives for Him.
Father, thank you for all that you have suffered for us! Fill our hearts with ever-increasing gratitude. May we sincerely pray with Christ, “Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39).