Easter - 2018

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gethsemane / When Life Presses in hard....

Karen and I served Gethsemane Church of Christ from February 2001 through October 2006. It is a great church. We loved every part of our lives with these people. The people are gracious, God-fearing, and true Christ-followers. The building is beautiful and the location is like a park setting. We grew closer to Christ there, we had our children there, and we will always look very fondly to that time in our lives. One week at Gethsemane C of C, Ronnie Jones our senior minister was leading us in a time of teaching and he spoke about the Garden of Gethsemane. I remember a follow-up study I did and there are amazing parallels in the Garden and to Jesus' suffering.

The Garden of Gethsemane is not really a garden but an orchard. Olive trees still grow there today. During Jesus’ day it was a place of business, an olive press producing the local areas supply of oil. This is where the word Gethsemane comes in. A gat (Hebrew) is a press, a large five-foot high square stone pillar, and a semane, or seman, is oil. So on the evening before his crucifixion he went to the orchard of the Olive Press with Peter, James, and John, to pray.

If you lived in the first century and worked with a gethsemane your day would be spent gathering olives, placing them in a woven fishnet like bag, and putting them on top of a stone table. This specially designed table is round with beveled edges that curve down to a trough. The trough is angled and funnels into a pot which holds the oil. The top is designed to receive the gethsemane. The tall square stone is lifted up and set on top of the basket and for several hours its tremendous weight is left there to crush the liquid from the olive.

It is no mistake that Jesus spent his last evening in the Garden of Gethsemane. From there he would leave to go to the cross and receive the weight of the world, the gethsemane of our sins, blood crushed from his body running down the cross to the world below. Luke describes the pressure Jesus suffered that evening: “Being in anguish his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” It is an image of the gathsemane crushing the oil from the olive fruit.

Gethsemane ever since has come to symbolize suffering. And my friends the world is crowded with gethsemanes. Whatever is pressing in on you today, please know that God love you. He knows what is means to be pressed and He will never leave you nor forsake you. God uses pressure to create diamonds and get oil in our lives.

Life changes and God moved us to a new church in Greenfield, IN (Park Chapel). It is another great church with over-flowing blessings. None the less, we will always be thankful that God allowed us to serve in Mechanicsville, VA along side a group of believers at Gethsemane Church of Christ.

You know I love ya - Don


Unknown said...

In 1989 Linda and I stood in the olive orchard Gethsemane looking at trees over 2000yrs old still growing and being tended by an old man with a donkey and plow. Tears flowed as I thot of Christ kneeling there to speak with God. I looked across the Kidron valley toward the Dome of the Rock and thot of His glorious coming return to that spot.

Don Crane said...

Thanks Reddogg...I want to do that some day.