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The Upper Room and Gethsemane 

 

Introduction

It is my understanding that the Lord left the upper room and began the walk to Gethsemane.  As they walk the Lord continues His messages to the disciples on the pathway of holiness, telling and illustrating to them the union of His people with Himself (Jn. 15:1-17:26).  This union with Him meant there was to be oneness among them (Jn. 17:11, 21, 22); a love for each other (Jn. 15:12); hatred from the world (Jn. 15:19); then it appears He stops.  It is all so natural because a praying person will speak to others and then (if possible) pray with them.  This He does (Jn. 17:1-26).  Having prayed together, they move together over the Cedron or Kidron (Jn. 18:1) into the garden called Gethsemane.

The words of John 14:30-31 are words which, when appreciated, cause wonder and worship.  Gethsemane was to be the beginning of the Lord’s darkest hours.  The Lord says, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Lk. 22:53).  There is the approaching conflict and it was going to be focused on Jesus.  I say “Jesus” because it is Jesus who comes into the garden for the conflict (Matt. 26:36).  At the time the Lord was with the eleven disciples and going to Gethsemane, the prince of this world, like a mighty army of one, was preparing for his attempt to turn the Lord away from the cross.  It is not the prince of Grecia or Persia (Dan. 10:20), nor is it the government of principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness (Eph. 6:12), this is the prince of this world personally coming.  Full well he knows that if Christ fulfills the work the Father gave Him to do, and is raised from the dead, then ultimately he, this evil Prince, will lose dominion of the world, be shown for what he is, lose many of his earthly adherers, and that he will not allow to happen easily.  Soon would come the hour of darkness in intensity,  but not yet.

The Lord’s Going Out To Gethsemane

In the Old Testament, one of the animal illustrations of the Lord is that of the Ram.  It is a rich picture in which we see a male, maturity, and dogged determination.  The Hebrew word translated “Ram” is also translated mighty men in (Ex. 15:15; 2 Kgs. 24:15; Job 41:25; Ezek. 17:13, 39:18).  The ram is associated with God's Covenant (Gen. 15:9); substitution and sacrifices (Gen. 22:13); consecration (Ex. 29:15-33); the burnt-offering (Lev. 8:18); the peace-offering (Lev. 9:4); the trespass offering (Lev. 5:15); and persistence (Dan. 8:4).

Christ had spoken of the inauguration of His kingdom, the sharing of His government with those who were like Him in not accepting the gentile perception of greatness, the love He had for the Father, and since these purposes must be fulfilled, then the time had come and He would move out to meet the foe.  This King will not stay at home in a safe place when others stand for His kingdom.  They will flee, but He will not only stand alone, but go out to meet them, confront them, and demonstrate His greatness over them.  Precious partial fulfillment of the prophecy, “He shall not fail nor be discouraged” (Isa. 42:4).  The Hebrew word “fail” is translated “restrained” (1 Sam. 3:13) four times.  It is connected with the eye (Gen. 27:1; Deut. 34:7; Job 17:7; Zech. 11:17).  The word “discouraged” is literally “broken,” that is, checked in zeal by discouragements.  His eye was undeviatingly fixed on the purpose of God, the sufficiency of God to meet the need, and consequently, His zeal for the fulfilling of divine purposes could never be restrained, neither could His faith in the way.  He will not wait for them to come, He will not hold back.  In the power of God and filled with zeal for the glory of God and the fulfillment of His purposes, He says, “Rise, let us be going” (Matt. 26:46;  Mk. 14:42).  It is after we read those words that the next clause says, “And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas” (Mk. 14:43).

Now the Lord says dark words, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Lk. 22:53).  The hours of satanic venom being vented on the Lord, the all out attempt to have Him recant from fulfilling the will of God has now begun in earnest.

Gethsemane

Gethsemane, the garden, this was His “closet” where nights had been spent in communion with God before the next day’s activities.
 

a)

What depths of glorious fellowship He and the Father had enjoyed together in that place.
     

i)

“And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives” (Lk. 21:37)
     

ii)

“And every man went unto his own house. Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple” (Jn. 7:53-8:2).
 

b)

Into His closet the Lord comes, but not now as on past occasions.
     

i)

This had been the place where He taught His disciples of things to come and having a right perception on things and events (Matt. 24:3-31).
     

ii)

In the then future, it was to be the place where He would ascend back to Heaven (Acts 1:12).  Ultimately, this is the place where His feet will touch when He comes to the earth to reign (Zech. 14:4).
         

1.

However, this time was different, tomorrow there would be no going to the temple.  His ascension and glory were a long way off, and a deep dark chasm would take place before those wonderful days could be known.
             
It was a “garden”, and being such, minds automatically go to two other gardens, the garden where sin entered, (Gen. 2:8) and the garden where our Lord was buried (Jn. 19:41).
 

a)

Putting the persons and events of the Garden of Eden and Gethsemane side by side, there is first presented to us the first and last Adams (1 Cor. 15:45), but what a contrast.
     

i)

It was in Eden that Adam exalted himself to be as God, acted in defiance against God’s will, and set personal glorification above the glorification of God (Gen. 3:5-6).  In Gethsemane the Last Adam (Christ, 1 Cor. 15:45) is revealed as the one who was in complete fellowship and yieldedness to God (Matt. 26:42). There was the dread of that which lay ahead but never rebellion.  The Lord is not just verbally submitting to the will of God, but His prayers reveal His hearts response to the will of God.  In these aspects, our blessed Lord is totally opposite to the first Adam.
     

ii)

Furthermore, in Eden one sees the ease and conscious deliberate disobedience with which Adam sinned (Gen. 3:5-6; 1 Tim. 2:14), whereas in Gethsemane, we see the agony of a man who lived life devoted to God and dreaded being forsaken by Him.  In Eden, man is seen willfully forsaking God, not through any wrong God had done. In Gethsemane, a man was seen willing to be forsaken by God, not for any wrong that He had done.
     

iii)

In Eden, when Adam sinned, he could not have foreseen the personal and universal consequences by that one sin.  Adam opened the door for sin to come into this world, followed by death spiritually and physically (Rom. 5:12-19), and the giving of the government of the world to Satan (Lk. 4:6) who is now the prince of this world (Jn. 12:31).  In Gethsemane, the Son of God began the last steps in ultimately giving a world where sin would never again raise its distorting head, humanity would have life spiritually and physically, and the government of this world would be given to He who is the Governor among the nations (Psa. 2:6; 22:28; Zech. 14:9)
     

iv)

In addition, Adam was ignorant of that which his sin would bring to others.  Christ was fully understanding of that which His sacrifice would bring to others (Rom. 5:12-19).
     

v)

In Eden, Adam took the offered fruit (Gen. 3:6) which seemed gain, but in actuality, it meant loss.  In Gethsemane, when the Lord displayed His readiness to take the cup (Jn. 18:11), it seemed loss, but it was actually infinite gain.

The Word “Gethsemane”

The Holy Spirit tells us three things about the place:
 

a)

It was a “garden” (Jn. 18:1)
 

b)

It was called “Gethsemane”, which means “the oil press”.  (The evidence for this is explained in the next paragraph.)
 

c)

It was the Mount of Olives (Matt. 26:30).

It was called “Gethsemane”.  The Hebrew word, “Gat shmanim” translated “Gethsemane”, means “the oil press”, and the Hebrew word comes from the two Chaldean words, “gath” and “shemei”.  “Gath” indicates pressure, and “shemei” is often translated,  “oil or ointment” (Lev. 2:4; Psa. 133:2), in which the context is fellowship.  Thus, by it’s name it indicates a place of pressure, a place of fellowship (Psa. 133:2), and the holiness of the Lord’s own spirit, soul, and body, as typified by the fact of no leaven in the meal offering (Lev. 2:11).  This is the place where eternity and the glory of God hinged, a place of crisis, the place where the “official” acceptance of the receiving of the cup and the hour of the power of darkness began.  In this garden the Lord prepared Himself for the darkness that lay ahead by reaffirming devotedness to God and prayer.  What a truth this is, hours before the storm clouds burst He prays.  Man had before sought to take Christ but His time was not yet come (Jn. 7:30), but now the hour is come (Jn. 17:1; Mk. 14:41).  He had finished one work the Father gave Him to do (Jn. 17:4), that was glorifying God and giving the disciples God’s word.  He had instituted the Lord’s Supper (Lk. 22:19-20), thus indicating the ending of the old dispensation and beginning of a new.

When Gethsemane is set beside the garden where our Lord was buried and rose again, what a glorious contrast we discover.  In chronological order:
 

a)

Gethsemane was before His sufferings began, the other was after His sufferings are forever over.
 

b)

Gethsemane was the place of manifested weakness; the resurrection garden was the place of the manifested might.
 

c)

Gethsemane was the place of distress, the garden where He rose from the dead was the place of victory.
 

d)

Few saw His agony in Gethsemane but many, including Mary (Jn. 20:11-17); the women who were returning from the tomb (Matt. 28:9-10); and Peter and John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) went and saw the vacated tomb (Jn. 20:2-8).  Many saw Him alive but there is no mention of them seeing the tomb.  Some of those were the other disciples, the five hundred, and Thomas (Jn. 20:19, 26-28; 1 Cor. 15:6).  These all bore evidence that Jesus had risen from the dead.
     
With what exuberance of joy we sing:

“It’s past the dark and dreary night, and Lord we hail Thee now

            Thy path on earth, the toil the tears, Thy sufferings all are ore.

            And oh sweet thought, Thine eye shall weep
Thy heart shall break no more”

Beautiful are the truths for us, for how many are the storms we face in life and temptations on every hand.  Prior to, and in those storms, let us learn from the Master the necessity of getting alone with God, to pray and bow in true devotedness to the will of God.  In Gethsemane the Lord knew that He was going to meet God in His moral perfection of holiness, and as the representative substitute for sinful man.  It is to this extent that we appreciate the preciousness of the sacrifice of our Lord, seeing there the holiness of God and the total corruption of self that we in truth will plead the blood of His Son for our acceptability.  Gethsemane will at least teach me that there is no place for a casual attitude, a little indulgence, a nonchalant attitude when it comes to sin, for my sin caused the Lord agonies in Gethsemane, but these never matched the sufferings of Calvary.

. . . Rowan Jennings