Summary: This message examines why we all need a place like Gethsemane in our lives.
Text: Mark 14:32-42
Date: 3/9/08 a.m.
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church
My father’s parents lived in a small farmhouse in a little community in Southern Illinois. One fo the things that I remember about their home, is a painting. It was an artists depiction of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsamane. Jesus is pictured kneeling in prayer, as the rays of the moon shine through the olive trees and illuminate Him. What a night that must have been for Jesus. This morning, I want us to spend a few minutes talking about that night, and the events that surrounded it.
Jesus and His disciples had just finished sharing the Passover meal together. However, the celebration quickly turned to confusion. As Jesus revealed that one of his own disciples would betray him. The disciples looked at one another suspiciously, and each ask Jesus? "Is it I?" When Judas was exposed, he got up from the table and ran out into the darkness, looking for the Chief Priests and the Romans, because he knew the time was near. Judas had been around Jesus long enough to know where He would go after He finished eating the Passover meal with the other disciples. He knew that it was just a matter of time before Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsamane to pray.
And of course we know Judas was right. After Jesus and his disciples finished their meal, Jesus made a New Covenant with His disciples and instituted what we call the Lord’s Supper. Then they sang the traditional Jewish hymn and made their way toward the Mount of Olives.
At the foot of the Mount of Olives was a garden named Gethsemane.
Gethsemane is a Hebrew word that means "Olive press." Biblical Scholars believe that at some time in the past an olive press had actually been located in the garden. Olive presses were used to crush the olives and squeeze the oil out of them. Some people have speculated that Gethsemane may have been owned by one of Jesus’ wealthy friends. We don’t know that for sure, but we do know that Jesus often used the garden as a sort of prayer retreat. It was a place that allowed Jesus to get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. A place He could go to get away from the crowds of people who always seemed to be following him. It was a Sanctuary, A place where He could go and be alone with His Heavenly Father.
You know we all need a place like Gethsamane, place where we can get away from the Television, and the Telephone. A place to get away from everyone, including our spouse, and children. A place to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, and spend some quality time alone with our Heavenly Father.
illustration: Eric Liddell, was an Olympic Champion, and the hero of the movie "Chariots of fire." But, He was also a dedicated Christian who knew how important it was to find a place to spend some time alone with God in prayer. During World War II, Lidell was captured and spent some time as a prisoner of war in China. Every morning about 6:00 a.m. Lidell would get out of bed, and with the curtains drawn in his prison cell, he would light a lamp and sit down at a small Chinese table and spend some time reading God’s Word and praying.
We all need to find a Gethsamane. It might be a prayer closet, or a specific room in your house. It might be on the floor next to your bed, or in a shed out behind your house. It might be in the woods, or in your flower garden. It really doesn’t matter where it is, as long as you use it on a regular basis. Jesus knew how important prayer was. I’m sure that He spent a lot of time on his knees underneath the olive tree’s in the Garden of Gethsamane.
As I shared with you earlier, Gethsamane was a place where olives had been crushed and pressed. Isn’t it kind of ironic that it is here in Gethsamane that Jesus felt the crushing weight of His impending death on the cross. That here in Gethsamane the sins of the whole world seemed to be pressing in on him from all sides.
I’m sure one of the reasons Jesus liked to go to Gethsamane was because it was quiet. On most occasions, I’m sure it was very peaceful and relaxing for Him to sit under those Olive tree’s and communicate with His Heavenly Father. But this night was different. It wasn’t peaceful, it wasn’t relaxing, and it really wasn’t all that quiet. There were some troubling sounds that Jesus may have heard while he was praying.