Jesus came here often with His disciples. This place was dear to Jesus because here He enjoyed the sweet refreshing communion with the Father. Was it not also dear to Him for He knew He would there begin the conflict in which the great business of salvation would be accomplished. He stayed here a whole night, after a day’s constant preaching to the people, the week before the crucifixion (Luke 21:37). If this was the favorite place for Jesus, should we not delight to be often there also in solemn meditation? Will the Lord not lead me there, and go with me there, and sweetly speak to me there?
Why Gethemane? The Jews call it Ge-hennom, or hell; for here it was that Josiah burnt the idol vessels (2 Kings 23:4–10). And it is the same as Tophet, the only word the Jews had for hell after their return from the Babylonish captivity. The field of Cedron was indeed a dark and gloomy place; and by its side ran the foul and black brook which Jesus passed over when he went into Gethsemane. Here David went mourning and lamenting, when Ahithophel, like another Judas, betrayed him, and his life was sought after (2 Sam. 15:23).
This was Gethsemane the favored spot of Jesus, because here He had so sweetly enjoyed communion with His Father, and because He here should encounter the powers of darkness. Learn then from Jesus where we ought to seek grace to comfort in a trying hour. Notice also that favored spot of Jesus was a garden. Yes, it was in a garden the first Adam lost himself and his posterity; there, then, Jesus would recover the forfeited inheritance. Did the devil begin in heaven to ruin man? Why, then, in Gethsemane Jesus will begin to conquer hell for man’s recovery. Did Satan, from the garden, bind and carry captive the first Adam? Then from a garden also he would be bound and carried away to the cross, the second Adam.
Solemn Gethsemane, awful, but hallowed spot. Here would I often come contemplate Jesus, groaning, yet conquering; pressed under all the hellish malice of the devil, yet triumphing over all; deserted by His disciples, sweating a bloody sweet, sustaining the wrath of offended justice, drinking the cup of trembling.
Lord bring me here often, shew me Your love: and as your joys were here turned into sorrows, give me to see how the curses which I deserved, but which endured for me, were converted into blessings.