by Dr. Mary Logan
What happened in the Garden of Gethsemane? Why did Jesus Christ suffer such agony and pain?
The Garden of Gethsemane is located on the Mount of Olives. Since this mountain range was about a half mile from the city of Jerusalem, Jesus often spent the night there when He was in Jerusalem.
The night before His crucifixion, though, Jesus experienced great agony and pain. He had entered the garden with all the disciples except Judas. (Judas had already begun the betrayal of Jesus.) Jesus knew He would be arrested and crucified soon, and He wanted His disciples to remember how dependent He was on His heavenly Father.
Jesus said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there” (Matthew 26:36). “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed” (v. 37).
That night Jesus cried out, just like a child, in brokenness and dependency. “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (v. 39).
A few years ago, on Friday, February 26, during all my struggles of being a single mom after my husband left me, I read these words of Jesus; and I prayed that same prayer. Instead of God’s answering the way I thought He would, He gave me the grace to follow the path He would choose for me.
One day the pain of rejection was so strong, I began reading Scripture verses about Jesus being rejected. Isaiah (53:3) said, “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. . . . He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
Matthew (8:34) wrote, “The whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they begged Him to depart from their region.” This was just after Jesus had healed two demon-possessed men.
One day Jesus was talking to the disciples about the coming of the Kingdom.
Luke (17:25) records Jesus’ words: “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”
Christ knew He had come to earth to die for every person’s sins. So, the “cup” He asked God to remove from Him was not death itself. Instead, it was the separation from His Father. His fleshly nature wanted to escape this separation. However, His godly nature chose to do as the Father willed.
Jesus had a purpose for which He was willing to die. “He suffered betrayal, denial by His friends, humiliation, beatings, spitting, torture, crucifixion, and ultimately death” (McCarthy 1992, 109).
Philip Yancey (1999, 39) said, “When Jesus prayed to the one who could save him from death, he did not get that salvation; he got instead the salvation of the world.”
Are you thankful Jesus chose to do the will of the Father? Have you accepted His gift of salvation? Are you willing to choose the Father’s will for your life?
Mary Logan, Ed.D., is a Course Development Specialist and Professor of Business and Education at Global University. While touring Israel, Dr. Logan presented this devotion in the Garden of Gethsemane on Saturday, March 10, 2012.