Matthew chapter 26:
36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
The name Gethsemane means “oil press” or “crushing place.” It was there that Jesus accepted His Father’s cup. He prayed three times, “not My will, but Yours be done Father.” As Christians, we periodically come upon crossroads in our lives. These may be of a spiritual nature, or may be related to our occupation, church affiliation, or personal life, etc. There are some truths that we can glean from Jesus’ crossroads in the garden.
- Take this time in your life very seriously. God has brought you to this point for a purpose. It begins with your heart, regardless of the nature of the situation. Allow God to work in you in order for you to move forward. How you leave your previous station in life affects how you enter your new one. Burning bridges behind you, unless so instructed by God (e.g., a destructive relationship), is usually not the best way to move forward.
- Do not be in a hurry to make your move. God is never in a hurry. He took over 1500 years to give us the Bible through over 40 different people. You likely feel the crushing and pressing in your spirit and mind and your first tendency is to jump into whatever looks right or easy so that you can move on from this feeling. Jesus prayed through three times for God’s will to be done. When the season of Gethsemane is up, God will show you the right path. Trust Him and wait (not hesitate) on the Lord (Isaiah 40:31).
- Pray earnestly for God’s will to be done. Jesus prayed, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” We underestimate the strength and force of the human will. We must humble ourselves before God in Gethsemane and allow our wills to be broken. You are about to enter the next chapter in God’s will for your life and you cannot accomplish what He wants done in the power of the flesh, no matter how talented you are. Praying through, for God’s perfect will, will prepare you for what is to come.
- Don’t assume that the path to choose is the easiest one. As creatures of habit, we don’t like being pushed out of our comfort zones with change. But we serve a God Who is always producing change in our lives. This would not be a crossroads if one of the paths was not a counterfeit. The counterfeit path is likely more agreeable to your flesh and will require you to trust less in God than the path that is God’s will. God’s Word tells us that the “willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19). Be willing for change and obey His will. Blessing will follow. It may look too hard in the natural, Jesus wanted this cup to pass from Him, but there is no blessing outside of the will of God.
- Don’t count on friends to help. We each have a support system. Jesus had the 12 disciples. They were sleeping when Jesus needed them the most. Like Jesus’, in your Gethsemane, expect yours to let you down. So many Christians want another more spiritual believer to tell them what to do. In your Gethsemane crossroads, it’s just you and God. That’s the way it has to be. Friends are good to have, but it’s not their role to give direction into your life. It’s not even your pastor’s job. God wants to meet with you there and reveal His will to you.
Whatever your crossroads is dear brother or sister in Christ, know this, God has not forsaken you. What you feel is the pressing and crushing of Gethsemane. Like the alabaster box, you must be broken for the beautiful fragrance to come forth. Are you feeling the need to change jobs, relocate, end a relationship, change churches, give something away, enter the ministry? The list goes on and on. Regardless of the decision which must be made, follow the instructions of Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
And as a final comment, for all of us control freaks out there… this is for us! 🙂