Gethsemane sits just outside and in view of the walled city of Jerusalem, equal distance between the present Islamic Quarter and the Old City. Though far from in the woods, the gnarled trees of the private garden which served also as an olive press seems isolated and alone… set apart from the business of the Passover season.
It was a preferred place of privacy for Jesus to retreat and pray. His habit was to do this. It would not be hard to find Him if He and His followers were near the Holy City. And this week, they were.
After the Passover meal was shared in the Upper Room, Jesus and the men (though the traitor had left) wandered into the night and along the winding path to that holy place for Jesus. The olive press… “Gethsemane” in Hebrew.
Three of the remaining eleven disciples were invited to come with Jesus deeper into the thicket of trees. But Jesus went further still. Deeper not just in the garden, but into His Father’s purpose.
There He fell on His face before His Father and prayed and groaned and wept and sweat “great drops of blood.” His prayers were not perfunctory. They were pleading… for strength… for understanding… for an answer. “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me….” The answer was no.
Sometimes the yes we long to hear doesn’t come. Jesus was certainly not walking in disobedience or in any way outside of the will of God. But sometimes we just hear a no for our answer.
Jesus did. His reply? “Nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done.”
And even when we don’t hear the answer to pray we desire, that should be our response as well.
FOR MEDITATION: “Father, if it is possible take this cup from Me, yet not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
FOR REFLECTION: No is an answer to prayer… though not always the one we wanted.