Gethsemane

One more posting about our trip to Israel--I promise this is the last one.

A few weeks back when we shared some pictures and observations from our Holy Land Trip, I showed a panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem taken from the Mount of Olives. We talked about how the pastor who was leading our group did a marvelous job pointing out that from our perspective, we could see where Herod’s palace was located, where Pilate would most likely have been staying, where the Garden of Gethsemane was, and where most experts say the hill of Golgotha was located.

We talked about how obvious the approach of the torch-bearing regiment of Roman soldiers and Sanhedrin guards would have been to Jesus and the apostles as they made their way through the dark streets of Jerusalem toward Gethsemane on the night they arrested Jesus. The point being, Jesus was not ambushed and caught off guard by those who came to arrest Him that night. He was in complete control. And unbeknownst to them, His captors were only instruments being used to carry out what Jesus was born to do. It was a powerful illustration of God’s sovereignty and a touching demonstration of His commitment to the Father’s plan to redeem us all.

But in setting up the explanation of this event, we also shared information about the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsamane, at the time of Christ, was not really a “garden” in today’s terms. It was actually a rather disgusting place during Passover. During Passover, thousands upon thousands of devout Jews would make their way to Jerusalem to celebrate and offer sacrifices. Most common Jews traveling from distant villages would not be able to bring their own animal to sacrifice, so they would buy one from the priests when they arrived in Jerusalem. Our pastor/guide informed us that over the Passover weekend as many as 20,000 animals would be sacrificed. And the “Garden” of Gethsemane was where the sacrificial animals were kept until they were purchased.

So let’s consider what we’ve just revealed. The Garden of Gethsemane was where the lambs that were to be sacrificed for the sins of men were kept until they were taken to fulfill their redeeming purpose. And Jesus the Lamb of God remained in Gethsemane until He was taken away to fulfill the purpose He was born to accomplish—the redemption of God’s elect once and for all. What an ironically appropriate situation; Jesus, our Sacrificial Lamb, was taken from Gethsemane (where the no-longer-needed, old covenant symbols of sacrifice had been kept) to die for our sins.

Isn’t it emotionally inspiring when we discover the intricacies of God’s amazing plan for our salvation?

Written by Jim De Horn