Pressed Down and Crushed for Us

Posted on: 7-15-112011

Many of us are familiar with Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His crucifixion on the cross.  What you may not know, however, is something that I just learned last night during my Bible study.  The word “gethsamene” in English means “an olive press”.    When the olives were ripe, they were put in a crushing basin in which a large millstone was rolled over them numerous times, crushing the olives into pulp.  Then, the pulp was gathered in baskets and stacked on top of each other.  Finally, large stone pillars were placed on top of the baskets, which gradually pressed them down and crushed them until the oil dripped into the basin below.  It is said that the rich, pungent aroma from the oil could be smelled for miles.  There was a large olive press located near the garden where Jesus prayed that night; in fact, it was so large that it had been named Gethsemane. Isn’t it amazing that God would choose exactly that place for Jesus to pray that night?  For that night, Jesus was undergoing the most intense pressing down and crushing that could possibly be imagined.  He knew what His future held in store for Him…He was going to be arrested, tried, found guilty although He was completely innocent, beaten beyond recognition, humiliated, abandoned by His closest friends, denied by one of His closest friends not once, but three times, forced to carry His cross, stripped naked, mocked, spit on, laughed at, rejected, had a crown of thorns forced into his head, speared in the side, nailed to a cross by His hands and feet, bearing ALL of the sins of the mankind…even for those that would never receive Him, and worst of all, forsaken by His Father when He had to turn His back on Him because of the sin upon Him.  He poured His heart out before the Father, begging Him, not once, but three times to let Him escape this torment and suffering.  Scripture records that He prayed so earnestly, in fact, that He sweated drops of blood.  Now that is intense pressure and crushing!  I do not think any of us can even begin to fathom what He endured that night, as well as in the days that followed. As the olives produce oil when crushed and pressed, Jesus was crushed and pressed by the weight of our sin to the point of shedding His blood.  And it is through that precious blood that the greatest oil of all was given…the anointing oil of our Savior, which is the oil that provides forgiveness, cleansing,, and makes us whole in His sight.  Do you think it was a coincidence that Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray? No way…God knew exactly what He was doing!  He sent Him to the very place that would best describe to us what Jesus endured that night and in the next days. I stand in awe of His Word…He has woven so many treasures in the Word that we can study for a lifetime and never uncover them all!

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.” Matthew 26:35


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November 2011
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