THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE was an olive orchard, with its oil press, which was across the Brook Kidron from Jerusalem on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. It was a secluded place where Jesus often went with his disciples and where he agonized in prayer before his betrayal by Judas.
In this garden you will find a very large and beautiful marble statue of Jesus Christ surrounded by a stone wall and offers some lovely dappled willows, pink roses, korean spice viburnum, hibiscus, a red bud tree and a few perennials.
As Jesus entered the garden with his disciples he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: The one I kiss is the man; arrest him. Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,“ Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?“
At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled. All the disciples deserted him and fled.
In this garden, we are overwhelmed by the love of Jesus Christ for all people of the world. With thankful hearts we honor His willingness to be obedient, even to death on a cross for us; His remarkable courage and strength shown in this garden and when he was arrested; His truth; His demonstration of faith; His heart wrenching prayers; His total sacrifice; and His amazing grace and mercy given to everyone.
Additional scriptural references: Mark 14:32-51; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-11.