East of the city is a grove, some 10 acres of trees as old as the city itself. From the fruit of these trees comes the life blood of the city, the oil it contains lubricates the lives of the people. It is their cooking oil, the base for their bread, the flavor of their food. It is the base for their make-up; colored it enhances their appearance. It is an ointment for their wounds, a healing salve. With it they dress the wounds of their animals and anoint their kings, burning in lamps it overcomes the darkest night. It is precious to these people, without it they waste. To obtain the oil, however, the tender fruit must be destroyed. Between the heavy stones of the press the fruit is given up to release the life giving oil.
Near the center of the grove is the press, it is here the tender fruit is crushed to receive the life sustaining oil; “the place of the press”, Gethsemane.
Knowing what was to come, it was here Jesus came to pray; separating Himself with a few friends to watch over Him as He poured out His heart to His Father God. The hour is late, the day long, and the flesh weak, soon they are asleep. Jesus is on His knees, sitting back on His heels, fists pressed into the ground in front of His knees, and His forehead pushed into the dust between them, low. Sweat rolls from His face as the war in His soul rages;
“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matt 26:39)
Some have said that He wished to pass the coming scourge and crucifixion, but those things are temporal and temporary, marking only the body and then they are gone. No, the content of this cup is something truly frightening; something foreign, completely unknown, something that marks the soul, scars it for eternity, something that changes everything … sin … Here in this place, the place of the press, our sin is pressed onto Him, He is bruised for our iniquity, He becomes sin, that we might know the righteousness of God.
“O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” (Matt 26:42)
Gethsemane, the place of the press.
Exodus 27:20 “And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually.
Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.