(36) Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, sit ye here, while I go pray yonder. (37) And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. (38) then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. (39) And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:36-39 KJV)
Have you ever been at a place in your life where you prayed to God O Lord not this. Anything but this. Maybe it was a sick child battling cancer, maybe it was a death of a parent, a divorce, or a loss of job, maybe it was infertility. Whatever it is or was we can find comfort in the fact that Jesus himself has been there. In verse 36 it says that Jesus was in a place (garden) called Gethsemane. Which means the place of pressing or the oil press. What I love about this scripture is that this is the only place in the bible where I saw Jesus struggling with the will of God! if Jesus can momentarily struggle with the will of God, how much more will we struggle, but what I personally love about this beautiful scene in the bible, is that it shows me that Jesus truly understands what it’s like to want your own will. Especially when we don’t understand what God is doing ( even though Jesus did understand). Gethsemane is known as the pressing place it was there that Jesus had to press through. We all have a Gethsemane, a place of pressing and a place of pushing. How easy would it have been for Jesus to have given up in that moment, but if he would have then where would you and I be today? Do you know that we not only press for us, but we press for those coming behind us.
Gethsemane will always be a place of pain, anxiety and second thoughts. We don’t have to press through something that is easy or comfortable. One of the definitions of press is to move or cause to move into a position of contact with something by exerting continuous force. It takes work to press, when we press the object is to move something to a position of contact. If this is true of a physical object how much more so can it apply to us lining up with the will of God? Sometimes it seems that God’s will is hard especially when we think that we know of an easier way. If you don’t believe that it can be hard or seem hard take a look at Jesus’s own words in verse 39 O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me. If it be possible, in other words is there another way. How many of us have been there? Lord I know that you called me to preach, but I didn’t know that it would cause me my family, I know that I was anointed to spread the word of the gospel, but did it have to come at the expense of my loneliness. Lord I know that you gifted me to be a comfort to others but did it have to be at the expense of my own pain? Yes, it did God will use your loss, your loneliness, your pain in order for you to better understand others in theirs. The reason why I love the fact that Jesus had to press through in the Garden of Gethsemane is because it makes him identifiable to us. I can trust in him because he knew what it was like to struggle even if it was only momentarily. It makes him relatable because in these moments he was heavy laden, sorrowful and anxious. In Luke’s version it even said that he sweated great drops of blood! Wow! When it was all said and done though, Jesus was able to get up and say nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. The next night he was crucified, but we know that’s not how the story ends because three days later he arose with all power in his hands and the enemy under his feet. That would have never happened had he not pressed.
My Gethsemane is not your Gethsemane, neither is your Gethsemane mine, but we will all reach that place where we must press. Someone is depending on you pressing. It may temporarily crucify you but don’t worry you’ll rise again, but we must learn to say not my will, but your will be done!