“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which he entered with his disciples.” (John 18:1)
John tells us Jesus went to a garden, Luke to the Mount of Olives, and Matthew and Mark to a place called Gethsemane. The site was probably old when Jesus went there. The Kidron Valley separated the Temple Mount and the old City of David from the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives historically served as one of the burial areas for Jerusalem. It seems possible that somewhere on the mount there was a garden. The olive trees that covered the hill were lost when the Romans invaded in 70 AD. Early Christians located an area where the garden might have been and built a church there.
The scriptures tell us that this garden was often frequented by Jesus and his disciples. Judas went there to betray Jesus because he sensed that Jesus would go there after the Passover meal. Whether he went there at night other times or just this once we don’t know. It was an isolated place, away from the bustle of the city in the day and even at night, it brought seclusion.
There are those who see a significant point in that Jesus’s greatest temptation came in a garden just like Adam. The most significant point that can be made is that Adam gave in to his weakness and Jesus did not. “Not my will,” are his words.
What was the cup he dreaded? He often spoke of his death with great confidence. He was sure he would die, that the death would be a cross and that he would be resurrected after his death. Did he have second thoughts in the garden? I don’t think so. I don’t believe he feared death, not even the cross because he knew that he would die as soon as he wanted to. He was free to end the torture and pain whenever he desired and he did.
I think it wasn’t fleshly related at all. I believe it was spiritual in nature and of such grave consequences that it is beyond our understanding. The defining moment on the cross is reached in the cry of Jesus, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me.” To be abandoned by God is unthinkable, it is in a word, “hell.” God had to abandon someone in order for the remainder of the human race to have the opportunity for His eternal presence. That someone was Himself. The Godhead was rendered for that moment in time, no doubt the longest moment ever.
Task for Today: If you have access to a garden you will find it a great place to talk to God. Many cities have gardens with benches in secluded spots that will provide you an opportunity to speak to God alone. Every now and then we need time alone with our Father just as Jesus did.