The night of His betrayal, He prayed in the garden, kneeling in the midst of olive trees—surrounded by one of the symbols for Israel.
His friends were asleep due to the late hour, eyes heavy with fatigue from the day, minds weary with perplexed sorrow.
They had partaken of the Passover meal together that evening. But as they drank the third cup—the Cup of Redemption—Jesus had proclaimed it to be something deeper and more wonderful than God’s people had ever understood:
“… this is my blood, which ratifies the New Covenant, my blood shed on behalf of many, so that they may have their sins forgiven. I tell you, I will not drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ again until the day I drink new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
Now, alone in Gethsemane—the name means “olive press”—He was pressed out as He faced the unimaginable prospect of drinking the cup of God’s wrath. A fearsome and dreadful cup no one else could ever endure.
We drink many “cups” throughout our lives. Cups of celebration, cups of bereavement, cups of faith, cups of dark despair. But none of us has faced this holy and terrifying cup of righteous judgment. Jesus drank it—all of it—to the dregs, that we would be able to receive from God the cup of life and fellowship.
In the Olive Press garden, Jesus was greatly pressed out. The burden was so heavy it squeezed His own blood from Him, to begin filling the true Cup of Redemption.
And, faithful to His life of trust and love and devotion to His Father, He breathed the prayer that gives us courage to pray as well: “Not my will, but Yours be done.”
He rose from that place and went forth, to give His life that we might be redeemed.
His pressing released pure, precious oil to be poured out in anointing on our lives and hearts, that we would love and serve Him and each other; to make us one as Jesus and the Father are one; and with that love poured out among us, truly the world will know who He is.