April 01, 2021


Matthew 26:36-46

Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

—  Matthew 26:36

In our story today about Jesus’ betrayal, we read that Jesus went to a garden of olive trees, known as Gethsemane. This name literally means “oil press.” The Bible mentions that Jesus went there often, for times of rest and prayer (see Luke 21:37; 22:39-40). There Jesus poured out his heart to God. And on this occasion, on the night before he would be crucified, Jesus prayed in anguish, “and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

So in Gethsemane, not only were there olive trees, but the name of this place also becomes richly symbolic when we consider that Jesus, whom we also call the firstfruits of the resurrection (see 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23), was crushed and pressed as he suffered betrayal and death. Just as the pressing of olives produces valuable ­olive oil with healthful and medicinal properties, Jesus’ pure life was pressed out for us and provides us healing, forgiveness, and new, full life with God.

Spend some time today, alone in God’s presence, to pray, pouring out your heart before him and allowing yourself to express the things that weigh heavy on your heart.

Lord Jesus, we know that you found a place of rest and quiet among olive trees to pray. There you also prepared to suffer and die for us, that we could find healing and new life with God. Thank you for pouring out your life for us. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Julia Prins Vanderveen

Julia Prins Vanderveen works and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, Trevor, and their three sons. Julia has served as a copastor with Trevor at a church in Vancouver. She is a campus pastor and a humanities teacher at the Vancouver Christian School.

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