Scripture Reading: Exodus 4:1-6:12 / Matthew 26:31-46 / Proverbs 4:10-19
The parents of a young man accompanied their son and his fiancé to meet with her priest to sign some pre-wedding papers. The young man read aloud a few questions as they were filling out the forms. After he read aloud the last question, “Are you entering this marriage at your own will?” he looked over at his finance. With a firm and authoritative voice, “Put down “Yes”, she said. I can almost guarantee someone with a strong personality will control the household and it won’t be him!
God created us with free wills so we can make, choose and decide the course and direction of our lives. Surrendering our wills to someone is a struggle (except of this young man), especially if it is diametrically opposed to our desires and pleasures. Jesus Himself struggled with surrendering His will to The Father’s will. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
Jesus prayed this prayer three times under great distress, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (vs.38) The cross was before Jesus and His entire being and will was being pressed out as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. This garden was a popular and often visited place of Jesus for prayer. The name Gethsemane means, “the place of pressing”.
The garden was beautifully adorned with olive trees and serenity but it was also a place of grievous crushing. Jesus was mentally, spiritually and emotionally pressed by the pain, anguish and exasperation of taking up a cross of sin. He who knew no sin was wrestling with becoming sin for us. Luke mentions great drops of blood came from the sweat pores of Jesus. This was a medical and physical reaction to the great mental anguish Jesus was experiencing.
Jesus was head and shoulders above humanity. He fasted forty days and withstood every attack and temptation of the devil. Jesus was undisturbed in the midst of the most distressing circumstances and remained calm, poised and in control. He came face to face with every human need imaginable and was victorious. He conquered every evil power that drove faith and courage from the heart of man. Disease, satanic powers and the forces of hell were no match for Jesus; His Word prevailed!
Christ’s soul was in torment and He asked the Father to provide another way than the cross but in brokenness He surrendered to the will of The Father and the cross. We struggle with The Father’s will too. We like Jesus need those times when we are emptied, spilled out and molded into His divine will. Jesus couldn’t bear and die on a cross unless He submitted His will at the pressing floor of Gethsemane and died to the will of The Father. There’s no victory at the tomb without the cross and there’s no cross without Gethsemane. We also must all have our own personal Gethsemane because victory and strength will never be secured…until we are pressed.