Wenceslaus Hollar, Jesus on the Mount of Olives, Print, NGO Image, National Gallery of Art, Public Domain
When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
(Luke 22:40-44, NASB)
The Garden located on the side hill of Mount of Olives called Gethsemane derives its name from the Hebrew word for “Olive Press.” How remarkable that this garden so named was the place Jesus favored in His coming to His Father for times of prayer and fellowship.
The Son continually sought blessing, direction and relationship with His Heavenly Father in all matters assuring that He might be in constant and complete unity with His Father’s will. On all the occasions up until this point, the Son had never had any difficulty with the Father’s will but now massive amounts of untold heaviness were pressing in and on the body and spirit of the Son. It was a time of extreme and unbearable crushing in this place of “The Pressing.”
The Son staggers under the weight of the judgment about to come upon Him. Although He never wavers in His submission to His Father … He does plead for a possible release from the course of destiny now before Him. Some people explain the hesitation on the part of the Son as coming from the tremendous pain, torture and suffering that was about to come upon the Savior because of our sin and the sin of the world. Others suggest the hesitation comes from Jesus being fully human and alive alongside His being fully God.
These are significant pressures but the massive heartache and agony that would crush the Savior, came from carrying of the weight of the sin of the world and the knowledge of the intentional and required abandonment that was to happen when the Father would turn His face away from the Son on the cross. This had never happened, not for even the tiniest of moment in the unfathomable everlasting to everlasting unity that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit had dwelt in without beginning or end.
The severing of this love between the Father and the Son was required for the redeeming of all people for all time. It a great and indescribable love the Father has for us that even while we are hopelessly lost in our sins, He loves us (Romans 5:8). It was an incredible love that demanded our Heavenly Father to turn away from His beloved Son and allow the crushing weight of that redeeming abandonment to save a world of sinners. It was an incredible love our Savior had for us to lay down His life and to submit to this unfathomable crushing for our sins. We cannot imagine or comprehend the crushing that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane to our blessed Savior but we can be ever so thankful for the forgiveness and freedom it gives us. What was pressed out in the place of “The Crushing” was the amazing gift of our salvation. Thanks, be to God!
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5, NIV)
Suggested Reading … Luke 22; Isaiah 53