I wrote “At Night in the Garden” at this time two years ago. I had been reminiscing about a trip to Israel I took as a teenager with my family. How wonderful it was to visit the many places that Christ walked. And I remembered the Garden of Gethsemane. It was full of olive trees and a lovely place. As I thought about the Garden, I wanted to read again about Christ’s experience there. As I spent time in the Word reading about that night, I was overcome by how much our precious Jesus had to endure and as the tears flowed, the words and music to this song did too.
The word Gethsemane literally means oil press. This is how olives are pressed and ground up and their oil is produced. As with everything in the Bible, the fact that this night of suffering took place at Gethsemane is no accident. Oil is scripturally symbolic of the Holy Spirit. There must be a grinding, a crushing, a breaking of the olives to make oil. And before the Holy Spirit could be given, someone had to be crushed or broken. And that someone was Jesus Christ.
So great was His suffering that He could have died that night in the garden. “So sorrowful a place that the blood sweat from his face.” This is an actual medical event called hematohidrosis that can occur during the most extreme stress. Capillaries break and blood is mixed with sweat. Jesus knew not only that He would face the most excruciating physical pain, but even worse, He would be separated from the Father. For a moment, He asked God: Is there any other way? In our terms that question might be: Is there any other way we can be made right with God? Join the right church? Feed the homeless? Pray the right way? No, there is only one way.
“Because of His love at Gethsemane He made His way onto Calvary, each step He made removed the weight of sin around our neck.” The only way for us is through the blood of Jesus Christ. And for Jesus, there was only one way: For Him to be the sacrificial Lamb who died for us.
And because He said, Not my will Father, but Yours be done, we can call the most horrible, terrifying, cruel, unfair, dark days – Good Friday. And God can do that in our lives. We may not understand why things are happening. They may seem so unfair, so cruel, so hurtful. But, we can know that Jesus understands. Oh how He does. He was there. He was at the feet of the Father asking for mercy, but then ultimately knowing that Thy Kingdom come,Thy will be done is what will bring the ultimate good. God can be trusted in whatever your trial is. He sees the big picture.
And the big picture from that sorrowful night in the Garden, is a day of joyous praise as we celebrate Easter. “The night He spent at Gethsemane, ends in a place of great victory, when the stone was rolled away, our Lord no longer there, no longer there. He’s with us.” Yes, that’s what Easter is all about: He’s with us! Thank you Jesus!