Then comes Jesus with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, Sit you here, while I go and pray yonder.
A little garden on the side of the Mount of Olives is now shown to travellers as the garden of Gethsemane. It is enclosed with a wall. A few olive trees remain, possibly the descendants of those that covered Jesus with their shade. This spot is, however, too close to the city, and too near a main road, to have provided our Lord with the seclusion that he sought. Dr. Thomson tells of gardens a little further off, less than a mile from the city, and says that he found one, in a sheltered vale, suiting exactly our Lord's purpose, only a few hundred yards northeast of the exhibited site. Three things are impressed on us by the scene in Gethsemane.
I. WE GAIN IDEAS CONCERNING OUR LORD'S HUMANITY. It was Divine-humanity, so we may expect to find some unusual elements. But it was veritable humanity, so we may expect to find more likeness to us than diversity from us. Brotherliness of feeling and experience is seen:
1. In the restlessness of Christ's spirit. We know what it is to be restless when we have forebodings of coming calamity.
2. In our Lord's desire to be alone, and yet longing to have some one to be present and sympathize with him.
3. In our Lord's resistance of anticipated physical sufferings.
4. In his gentle way of dealing with disciples who were weak rather than wilful, and therefore failed to watch. Gethsemane helps us to feel "he was in all points tempted like as we are."
II. WE GAIN IDEAS CONCERNING THE CAUSE OF OUR LORD'S SUFFERINGS. No doubt he felt, as no one ever felt before,
(1) the separation between God and man; and
(2) the hatefulness of sin.
And he estimated, as no one else ever has, the awful curse and penalty which wilful sin has brought upon humanity. The woe he had so seen to pass through seemed to reveal the penalty to him. This made the burden of deliverance so heavy - made it involve so much. It all crowded on his mind and heart, and forced the earnest cry and prayer.
III. WE GAIN IDEAS CONCERNING OUR LORD'S WILLINGNESS TO SUFFER. The soul offering - the will offering for sin - was made in Gethsemane. God required the full sacrifice of a completed, tested obedience. Calvary completed the testing. Christ was a perfect offering. He freely, willingly, gave himself unto God. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.