Amongst the Olive Trees
The olive tree is known for its beauty (Hosea 14:6) partially because its large ancient trunk often has the look of a productive past. Furthermore, one side of the tree's leaves are light green and the other a much lighter Olive Grove green, giving the leaves a glistening appearance.

Although olive trees rarely reach twenty feet high, their extensive root systems, which spread wide to obtain the adequate moisture in Israel's relatively dry climate, require that the trees be planted some distance apart. Consequently, an average grove usually numbers a dozen trees or less.

Located generally near the olive groves was an oil press. The oil press was used to crush olives into pulp. Its primitive design was made of a flat stationary stone base. A donkey pushed on a horizontal beam, which in turn rolled a millstone that crushed ripe olives (placed on the base stone) into a pulp.

In Bible times there was "a garden" (John 18:1) across the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives, a mile-long ridge paralleling the eastern part of Jerusalem. The name of the garden was called, "Gethsemane" (Hebrew - gat shemanim, meaning "oil press") suggests that the garden was a grove of olive trees in which was located an oil press.

The garden of Gethsemane was situated on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. Jesus often went there to pray. At the conclusion of the Lord's Supper, Jesus and the disciples left the upper room and went to this enclosed piece of ground named Gethsemane.

After entering Gethsemane, Jesus told eight of the eleven disciples with Him to sit and wait, then took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee deeper into the garden. "He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed" (Matthew 26:37). He frankly told Peter, James and John that His soul was "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (v. 38). This was no doubt the result of His unspeakable love, as He anticipated becoming a sin offering for us. We who are sinful cannot conceive what it meant to Him, the Sinless One, to be made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is not surprising that He left the three and went yet a little farther into the garden alone. Thus would He go to the cross, alone, bearing the awful judgment of God for our sins. No one else could share His suffering or pray His prayer, "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39).

Was He asking to be excused from going to the cross? Not at all, this was the purpose of His coming into the world (John 12:27,28). We understand this prayer to mean, "If there is any way by which sinners can be saved other than by Him going to the cross, reveal that way now." The heavens were silent, because there was no other way. The holy Son of God must suffer, bleed and die, that sinners might be freed from sin.

Christ's sufferings in the garden were not a part of His atoning work. The work of redemption was accomplished during the three hours of darkness on the cross.

Gethsemane was in anticipation of Calvary. His perfect humanity is seen in the agony of the garden. Luke records the fact that an angel appeared to strengthen Him, and that His sweat became like great drops of blood.

Before we leave the garden of Gethsemane, let us pause once more to hear His cry and to ponder His sorrow, and to thank Him from the depths of our hearts.

Today no one can approach the account of the garden of Gethsemane without realizing that he is walking on holy ground. -William MacDonald

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Act 2:42