Calvary will always be important and close to our hearts but during this time many forget about that critical time before Jesus was taken to Calvary -- the suffering before the suffering at Gethsemane. Let’s examine the night before Christ's crucifixion -- Gethsemane. One commentator says; "In going to Golgotha, the problem is that we're twelve hours too late. We took a short cut and missed the way. Because the road to Golgotha always leads through Gethsemane. In fact, Golgotha without Gethsemane is an answer without a question. Which is why if we would know the truth at last, it is imperative that we hasten to the garden before we hurry to the cross."
So let us not make haste to the cross before we take a closer look at the garden. For upon closer examination we soon discover that Gethsemane is a deep, passionate story about the greatest love, the greatest surrender and the greatest victory for mankind. This is one of the most moving and dramatic narratives in the Gospels. It seems to bear the marks of tradition, e.g. the three times of prayer, perhaps each an hour, the three returns to the three disciples, matching Peter's three denials, and the three hours of suffering on the cross, and the three days in the tomb. In Mark 14:32, "Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, sit here while I pray." Gethsemane, which means olive press, was Jesus' favorite spot to pray. Our Lord would just love to come to this place and commune with His Father. Verse 33. "And He took Peter, James and John with Him and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch. He went a little farther and fell on the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass from Him." Can we read between the lines here? Jesus is completely agonizing on the thought of total separation from His Father, because of all the sin that weigh Him down. Literature clearly indicates we will never fully understand this tremendous pressure Jesus was under at Gethsemane. The bitterness of death was all squeezed into Christ's cup. He was made to drink up the very dregs of it. In the Greek (the airiest principle) means Jesus experienced a growing agony. The weight upon Him was not only crushing, but, as time went on this pressure deeply intensified. In fact this pressure was so great that in Luke 22:44, it says He sweat great drops of blood.
Medical experience does corroborate the testimony of the Gospels, and shows that cutaneous hemorrhage is sometimes the result of intense mental agitation. We always hear how Jesus shed His blood at Calvary and this of course is true, but let us not forget His blood was shed before Calvary at Gethsemane. This proves how tremendous the weight of sin was, when it was able to crush the Savior to the point that He distilled drops of blood. When Jesus was at His lowest, when the pressure was almost too much to bear, Satan turns-up his pressure as well. The devil knows this was the moment, either he must conquer or be conquered. Along with Satan were legions of evil angels also adding to His burden. So great was His affliction of the heart, Christ would have died in the darkness of Gethsemane had it not been for an angel Luke described descending from the throne room of the universe with the assurance of His Father's love. (Luke 22:43) Imagine with me what the Father was going through --seeing His only Son suffer. As any parent would, seeing their child suffer, the Father's suffering must have crushed His heart.
Remember at Gethsemane, God suffered with His Son. Perhaps the tree of the knowledge of good and evil also stood there, beside our Lord and Savior. Gethsemane -- at the midpoint of human history and human experience, to change the before into after. Let us understand, in Gethsemane, Jesus' relief of soul and infusion of strength did not come from resigning Himself to death. Rather He relinquished His will in favor of the Father's will. He deliberately gave up His own will and actively pursued the Father's will. This was the victory He fought to gain in Gethsemane. Surrendering our will to God not matter what we think or feel. Sometimes it may not make any sense to us, in fact sometimes God's will for us is completely opposite of all human logic and understanding. The searing question for each one of us is, are we willing to surrender our will totally to God and actively follow His will? Every true Christian has their Gethsemane. To pass through Gethsemane is a Divine arrangement, a part of God's plan for perfecting human lives. Although we might have our Gethsemanes, praise the Lord, we do not have to go to Gothgotha. For there is only One who passed through Gethsemane and entered into Gothgotha -- Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. It was because of this love at Calvary that we can have eternal life.