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As Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room, they traveled across the Kidron Valley to a private garden on the Mount of Olives. Normally, this would be a peaceful setting for prayer and meditation, but on this night Jesus entered the garden troubled and in deep distress. The garden was named Gethsemane, from Hebrew words meaning “olive press,” appropriately named to describe the “press” Jesus experienced of all that He knew He was about to endure.

As they entered the garden, Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to “watch and pray” while He went deeper into the garden where He would spend time with His Father on this fateful night before His death on the Cross. While we often think of the divinity of Jesus, here we see His humanity as He addressed God as “Abba” which basically means “Daddy.” Jesus contemplated and wrestled with the price His love for us and His obedience to His Father would require.

Why was Jesus in such anguish? More than the physical pain He would soon endure, I believe He realized the weight of the sin of the world that he would take upon Himself as He became the suffering servant. He looked deep into the cup of God’s wrath and His judgment against sin. In this cup Jesus saw all the sin of humanity – all the murder, all the brutality, all the garbage and shame – our garbage, our shame.

After praying three times that God would remove this cup from Him, He surrendered to the Father’s will. Jesus settled the matter in Gethsemane as He submitted to the will of God. We all need a Gethsemane experience, don’t we, a place to “watch and pray” and a place to surrender to the will of God for us?

Each time Jesus returned to the disciples He found them sleeping. After the third encounter, He said, ‘It is enough.’ The hour had come for the Son of Man to be betrayed. And just then, the temple guards and a cohort of Roman soldiers arrived, armed with swords and clubs, and led by Judas. Judas, one of the Twelve, had gone to the authorities and offered to betray Jesus for a price – thirty pieces of silver, roughly a month’s wages, and the amount mentioned in the Old Testament as the price of a slave. Judas knew that Jesus would most likely be in this quiet garden, away from the Passover crowds. As the soldiers arrested Jesus and led Him down the side of the mountain toward Jerusalem, most of the disciples scattered and fled. The enemies of Jesus must have thought they were in charge. Little did they know that they were simply fulfilling the redemptive purposes of God.