John 18:1-6 After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with His disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. 2 Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with His disciples. 3 The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.
4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to Him, so He stepped forward to meet them. "Who are you looking for?" He asked. 5 "Jesus the Nazarene," they replied. "I AM He," Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them.) 6 As Jesus said "I AM He," they all drew back and fell to the ground!
It must have been getting towards midnight by the time Jesus and his disciples reached the Garden of Gethsemane. Thousands of Passover pilgrims were sound asleep, weary from their trip to Jerusalem, and unaware of the spiritual battle taking place.
The excitement and joy that always accompanied Passover was lost on the disciples this time around as they continue to process all of the things that have happened since supper last night. They still cannot believe that Jesus washed their feet like a servant should have done and they still don't have any idea why Judas is missing. It seems so ridiculous now that they were arguing about their rank in Jesus' kingdom but everything is so confusing. (Luke 22:24)
They probably felt some comfort when they realized that Jesus was heading to the garden where they had already spent many nights with Him. Jesus didn't feel the same comfort, He knew what was about to take place, still He walks on. Stepping into the garden where the betrayer would show himself and start a chain of events that would lead to his death was an act of obedience.
Gardens have a special place in history, in the beginning the first battle with sin was in a beautiful garden where the first Adam failed and now in a garden that is scarred by sin the second Adam steps in ready for the battle that would change the world.
Mark 14:34 He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me."
Jesus took on the physical suffering and also the agony of the weight of every sin. We cannot imagine the experience that Jesus had as the sinless one became sin for us and experienced the separation from God that we all experienced before we became God's child.
There is another beautiful garden experience that is on the way for the children of God! It will be more glorious than the first garden and we will never have to leave! In this new garden there will not be any sin, crying, sadness or death. The river flowing through this garden will flow forever and the tree of life will produce everlasting fruit. The glory of God will be fully revealed to us there!
I have been in the garden of disobedience (Eden) and I have been in the garden of betrayal (Gethsemane). I cannot wait to go to the better garden in heaven and experience God's presence for eternity.