I have so much to share about our recent trip to Israel and Egypt that I am writing a follow up from the first post. Some sites I was able to record a video of the revelation and send it back. One particular site that I was able to do a video but wanted to expand on was the Garden of Gethsemane.
The word gethsemane comes from two Hebrew words. Gat means “a place for pressing oil or wine” and shemanim means “oils”. The Garden of Gethsemane is a “pressing place”. Olive trees grow and still produce olives today. It is also referred to as the Mount of Olives in scripture.
This is the place where Jesus was pressed on the night of his arrest that led to his crucifixion. Jesus took his disciples there to pray after they shared the Passover meal. He took Peter, James and John farther then had them watch (keep awake) and he went a little farther in the garden and fell to the ground and prayed. This account is found in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, and Luke 22:39-46.
As I walked around the garden, I was struck by the truth that Jesus carried an incredible burden to this ground as he knelt to pray. I got on the ground to spend some time in prayer. On the ground where Jesus prayed.
I was struck by the awesome nature of Jesus. We know that he is fully God. Colossians 1:19 tells us that the fullness of God was in him. We know that he is fully man. He was born of a virgin and shared our struggles of the flesh. I was overwhelmed by the truth that Jesus faced and overcame every temptation, and this ground was proof of that. In the prayer Jesus prayed, he asked if it was possible that this cup pass from him. We see the humanity of Jesus knowing what was coming in the cross and felt the immense pressure of bearing the weight of our sin and facing the wrath of God against our sin. I was reminded what Jesus tells us about being his disciples in Matthew 16:24. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” That is exactly what Jesus did in the garden! He denied himself to pursue the will of the Father and took up his cross! For us!
My prayer time was suddenly interrupted! I began hearing all the noise from the traffic right outside the garden. It was so loud! Busses driving by and horns honking. I began to struggle to keep a thought focused much less experience the presence of God through prayer. I began to apologize to God for being distracted and that’s when it hit me… The disciples faced the same thing!
In the scripture, Jesus asked his disciples to keep watch. That meant stay alert and awake. Jesus came back and they were sleeping! This happened multiple times! I know they did not have the traffic noise to contend with or there was no way they would fall asleep! Nevertheless, the reality hit me that so many distractions work at interrupting our prayer time. For the disciples that night was sleep. For me it was noise.
The revelation struck me that I have to take responsibility for my prayer time to get into the presence of God and be present with his presence. I have to fight for that every time I pray. I have to fight through sleepiness. Through noise. Noise can come from many sources. Traffic, phone, my wandering thoughts are some of the sources.
I am learning to “deny myself” of the distractions so I pray like Jesus in the garden. I am going to “press” ahead and continue to deny myself and take up my cross and follow Jesus. Jesus was pressed in the garden and the oil of salvation flowed from the cross. I am looking forward to the oil he produces through this life of mine.
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