In contemplating the Garden of Gethsemane I am struck by the inherent contradictions that set the setting of our savior’s greatest struggle. As Jesus made his way onto the Mount of Olives he must have walked past the Olive trees that give the mountain it’s name. I can only think that as Jesus walked he saw flowering plants as he made his way with heavy steps to his resting place. This solemn place was removed if only a short distance from the walls of Jerusalem with all of the man-made problems that persisted there and yet God had provided a solution to those problems in this Garden of Gethsemane.
Here nature, while marred by the decay of sin, still testified to God’s creative power. There was life in that hill that night: there was possibility. But the night had enveloped more than just the countryside. Jesus’ own heart was shadowed and beyond the reach of that light that had been his constant companion.
Perhaps he felt the darkness amplified his disconnection from his Father. The garden was filled God’s presence, but this presence could no more be seen or felt than the sun when it has set behind a distant horizon. Jesus called out in that dark place longing for a way out. But none was provided.
Crumpled up like a trampled rose Christ offered up his sacrifice as a sweet smell before the Lord. Surrendering his heart he drank the fruit of the cup that we were to drink. But he did not just drink your cup or mine, he drank the fruit of every garden that ever grew in this sinful plot of land that we call home. He drained it to it’s dregs so that when we walk in the Garden we can walk there in the light of the Son.