Ghethsemane is an olive press, not a garden or actual geographical location. It’s true meaning unlocks so many truths about what our Savior went through that it is a story that must be retold until it’s true biblical meaning replaces the one we have accepted for years. That there is a Garden of Ghethsemane somewhere is a misconception.
When I was a little girl I used to love the painting of Jesus in the Garden of Ghethsemane praying over the rock preparing for being the ultimate atonement and sacrifice for all mankind. In fact it’s an image I often thought of during my own trials in life just knowing that my Savior faced far worse on my behalf and that if anyone could understand my minor earthly sufferings, he could. This mental picture has gotten me through every situation that I was afraid to face and mentally it was tied to the scripture “not my will but your will be done”. But recently the Lord gave me further revelation about that night in the shadowy darkness that Jesus cried out in prayer to the Father that made this biblical event even more beautifully inspiring.
Many are familiar with the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego told in the third chapter of the Book of Daniel. It’s the story of three Hebrew men thrown into a fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar, because they refused to bow down and worship him; the three are preserved from harm and the king sees four men walking in the flames, “the fourth … like a son of God”. The three are thrown in the fire and the only thing burned was the ropes that were used to bind them. This story is about the way God can use trials to release us from bondage’s, and even though it may look like we are in serious trouble, we will come out of the fire far better than when we went in. It’s a story of having faith and understanding our God can protect us in any circumstance.
The Ghethsemane account is similar in the fact that many of us will face our own forms of Ghethsemane in our lives and God will use it to bring us out better than when we went in. It’s also important to note that Ghethsemane is not a place but actually a thing – an olive press. There are many Ghethsemane all over the Holy Land and it’s what they used to mill olives.
Elder Russell M. Nelson wrote:
“Jesus came to the base of the Mount of Olives to effect the first component of the Atonement. This He did at the Garden of Gethsemane. The word Gethsemane comes from two Hebrew roots: gath, meaning ‘press,’ and shemen, meaning ‘oil,’ especially that of the olive.
“There olives had been pressed under the weight of great stone wheels to squeeze precious oil from the olives. So the Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane was literally pressed under the weight of the sins of the world. He sweated great drops of blood—his life’s ‘oil’—which issued from every pore. (See Luke 22:44; D&C 19:18.)
“Jesus was accorded titles of unique significance. One was the Messiah, which in Hebrew means ‘anointed.’ The other was the Christ, which in the Greek language means ‘anointed’ as well. In our day, as it was in His day, the ordinance of administration to the sick includes anointing with the consecrated oil of the olive. So the next time you witness consecrated oil being anointed on the head of one to be blessed, and these sacred words are said, ‘I anoint you with this consecrated oil,’ remember what that original consecration cost. Remember what it meant to all who had ever lived and who ever would yet live. Remember the redemptive power of healing, soothing, and ministering to those in need. Remember, just as the body of the olive, which was pressed for the oil that gave light, so the Savior was pressed. From every pore oozed the lifeblood of our Redeemer. Throughout the joyous days of your mission, when your cup of gladness runs over, remember His cup of bitterness which made it possible. And when sore trials come upon you, remember Gethsemane. ” (“Why This Holy Land?” Ensign, Dec. 1989, p. 18)
The weight of the worlds sin came crushing down on our Savior. In this instance God was not using the situation to remove something of bondage or teach a lesson on trusting a God with unshakable faith…Jesus went into the Ghethsemane to be pressed. God used it to extract something. A Ghethsemane is a matter more of what comes out of you when you are under extreme pressure.
Jesus exuded obedience, submission, compassion, love, humility, empathy & understanding. So when you are under immense pressure, that kind that feels like the whole world is pressing down on you, examine yourself and see if you react in a Christ like fashion. In the Ghethsemane of life you find out what you are truly made of. What gets squeezed out of you. It’s interesting to note that after the olives have been pressed that the pulp left behind is dry like sawdust and is used to full fires.
When you are pressed hopefully it is not anger that comes oozing out, if so spend some time praying to the Lord to have a more loving and compassionate response to stress.There are so many life lessons in this illustration, let us praise a God for the absolute truths and invaluable instruction found in the Word of God!