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Mar 16 2010

Agony in Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

Several years ago, I visited Israel.  Today I was going through some of my photos of my last trip and the photo I’ve attached is of the Garden of Gethsemane.  I spent time today reflecting on my emotions as I stood in that garden that Jesus spent His last night in before His arrest.  Even my entrance to the garden was a little bit strange.  There is a church attached to the garden that is owned and run by the Catholics.  I happened to show up on a day that they were going to have a service in the front part of the garden.  I did go into the church but I was a bit uncomfortable as there were too many candles and a lot of chanting.  A priest offered me a candle to hold but I politely declined.  I went back outside.  There was a line of people waiting to enter the garden so I stood in line with everyone else.  When I reached the front of the line, the priest asked me if I was Catholic.  Little did I know the reason he asked me that question.  When I said I was not a Catholic, he did not allow me to enter.  I was not going to let something like that to deter me from entering.  After everybody had entered, I went to the other side and climbed the wall.  It’s been years since I climbed anything but I had traveled from the United States,  a 21 hour trip including the layover in London and no priest was going to stop me from seeing this garden that Jesus spent His last night before His arrest.

There are a lot of trees in the Garden so I was able to remain undetected.  Obviously, we don’t know the exact place where Jesus went and prayed.  I found a small rock to sit on and pulled out my bible and read of His agony.  Some 2,000 years later, I sat in the same garden that Jesus prayed in and I thought about salvation.  Jesus knew what lay ahead of Him.  He knew the agony He was to endure to secure MY salvation.  It is impossible for any of us to secure our salvation.  He had to do it for us.

Jesus was deeply grieved even to the point of death (Matthew 26:38).  Jesus prayed that the cup be taken from Him, yet not His will but the Father’s will.  His prayers were full of

  • In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.  Hebrews 5:7 (ESV)

In this garden that I sat, I pondered Jesus’ last night of freedom before His crucifixion, his loud cries and tears.  I don’t believe any human can even begin to understand.  He was aware of what His ordeal would be.  Not only would He be enduring the pain and agony of the cross but also He was aware that He would bear our sin.  It is He who knew no sin would have our sin placed on Him.  In fact, He stated:

  • “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42 (ESV)

His prayers were so intense and His agony so great that His sweat became like great drops of blood.

  • And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:44 (ESV)

And it was in this garden that His betrayer approached Him along with those that would arrest Him and take Him to be crucified.

I don’t know how long I sat there just thinking about how someone like me would eventually benefit from His agony.  All of us who are saved by His spilled blood are beneficiaries of that agony that He willingly gave.  He gave His life so that we may live.  And in that garden where I sat, His journey to His death began.

  • Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
    John 15:13 (ESV)


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  1. Margaret


    How awesome that you were able to see the Garden….. I think of how all that was part of God’s plan since the very beginning….. His love has never given up on us.


    1. Tishrei

      Hi Margaret,

      It was difficult to write this post — and I didn’t do it justice. There’s no way I could describe what it felt like to sit in that Garden while I read the scriptures of His time there.

      1. Margaret


        But, God knows what is in our hearts….. Thanks for climbing the wall.


  2. Loren

    Awesome post, that must have been a very moving experience!

    I don’t mean to get caught up on something that’s not even the real focus of your post, but it just really bothers me how so many places tied to the Bible are controlled by one particular sect who denies access to all who do not belong to their group. Many such sites are in Islamic hands, but many are in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. It is just beyond me why any particular group believes that they have exclusive rights to any of these places.

    I can understand why people do not want such places vandalized or defiled, but I think a better question the priest might have asked is whether or not you love the Lord and if that place meant something to you. That would have made a lot more sense.

    Great post and great picture, Tishrei, thanks.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Loren,

      Yeah, that was really annoying. I had to scale a block wall in a foreign country.

      The reason they would not let me in at that time was because they were going to have a catholic service in the Garden. I could have gone back at some other time when they weren’t having a mass but I was there and I had other things planned for the remainder of my time there. So I scaled a wall at my age — OY! At least my track days and jumping, etc. came in use albeit years later :)

      I’m going to blog about my time on the Temple Mount. That was also an incredible experience as well.

  3. Bill

    I don’t think the priest actually said this to you, non Catholics are welcome at Masses and services.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Bill,

      Well, to be honest, it doesn’t really mater what you think he said to me since you were not there. Had he not prevented me from entering, there would have been no need for me to put myself at risk and scale a wall. The question he asked me is “Are you Catholic?” Not knowing the reason he asked me that, I answered truthfully and said “no I am not.” He then told me I could not enter at that time since they were having a mass in the garden.

      I was there and you were not. I am, therefore, in a significantly better position to know exactly what was said. You merely are speculating to a conversation that you did not hear.

  4. anonymous

    Wow Tishrei , really inspiring. It was cool how nothing stopped you. You r really brave.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Anony,

      Thanks — it really wasn’t bravery but determination and stubbornness. I wanted in and I did not stop to think about how embarrassing it would have been to have them see me and ask me to leave.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

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