In continuing the saga of this month’s theme reflecting on marriage, I wanted to touch on marriage and Jesus’ death and resurrection. I know, odd, but as believers, we are greatly connected to the death and resurrection of Jesus in our earthly marriage. The whole idea of Easter is great but I’d like to pose that the concept of Easter and the celebration of Jesus’ victory should be something we celebrate daily. While there’s a great opportunity for the lost to come to know Christ during the Easter holiday, for those of us who have chosen to walk the path of salvation, we should daily live with the Easter/Resurrection Sunday attitude. Our hearts should bleed the reality of what Christ did on the cross and the joy of knowing that death and hell are overcome by a man who became sin itself in order that we may find freedom. In this freedom we can daily walk in victory despite what comes our way. We have access to God and should carry this in our marriage. Jesus gave us this access.
Jarrod and I have had plenty of funny moments in marriage. We’ve laughed until our tummy hurts and we’ve cried and grieved in prayer with one another. Without going into much detail, in the early months of marriage bliss, Jarrod and I found ourselves on our knees crying out to Jesus. Before that, I only saw Jarrod cry a handful of times. I mean, I could count on one hand and two of those times were on our wedding day. The tears we cried this day were different. We both groaned before the Lord, he more than I for someone we love. We cried out to Jesus and begged for an answer. While we didn’t get an answer we got something greater. We got peace. These were moments we stored in our core memory as forever cherished. This was an intimate moment in our bedroom between Jarrod, myself, and God. A moment that reminded me of Jesus’ death, and resurrection.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus cried out to his Father (Matthew 26:36-56). We can read that Jesus was filled with anguish and maybe even dread as to what was about to happen. Here Jesus is more human than He’s ever been throughout the gospel retelling of Jesus’ time on earth. In this garden, on his knees, in the dark, and under the shelter of an olive tree, Jesus cries out in prayer,
“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
There is much great symbolism to Jesus’ retreat to the Garden of Gethsemane, but there’s two, in particular, I want to hone in on. The meaning of Gethsemane is “oil press.” It is said in the Garden of Gethsemane is where olives were pressed into oil. We know that oil is significant and symbolic of the atonement of Jesus Christ. In the synoptic gospels, we read the extreme pressure of Jesus’ suffering for all of us. His blood poured out for us and literally bled from His pores. Interestingly, when olives are pressed to make what we know as Olive Oil, they likewise go through extreme pressure and olives ooze out of their pores in blood-red droplets of oil.
Another important thing to note is that Jesus was under an Olive Tree in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of the first accounts of an Olive Tree or Olive Leaf is in the story of Noah and the Ark in Genesis chapter 8. Noah released a dove who later returned to Noah’s ark carrying an olive branch in its beak. This was a sign of God’s promise being fulfilled and a symbol of peace to the world.
During Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was most vulnerable with His Father. He was oil pressed, and in the grief He found great peace. In marriage, I’ve found our bedroom to be our Garden of Gethsemane. It’s the place where Jarrod and I have been most vulnerable with each other. It’s the place where we’ve cried out to our Father and it’s the place we find the most peace. While the comparison is by no means one to downplay the magnitude of what Jesus endured and the awesome wonder of the death and resurrection, Jesus did illustrate to us how we should live here on earth, and in our imitation of Jesus, we often neglect the ugly or gruesome side of this journey. We like the pretty. We enjoy and desire the easy road. But there will be hardships, there will be difficulties, and there will be times when you and your spouse will need to cry out to Jesus in your Gethsemane.
After Jarrod and I got done praying we felt tremendous peace. We didn’t immediately receive an answer or miracle but we did feel a peace that Jesus will work the miracle on behalf of our loved ones. We cried our war cry tears and stretch our arms out clinging to the one who saved us and continues to save us. That night we went to bed with our last words being, may your will be done. We slept in peace. Our circumstance didn’t change, but our hearts did.
When we give up our way for God’s way we often battle with what our hearts desire. Jesus exemplified that obedience is greater than sacrifice. Jesus’ obedience to death on the cross bearing on sin for you and I allows us to live in freedom today. It’s the reason we can have peace in the midst of a storm. It’s the reason we have second chances. It’s the reason we will be able to spend eternity in paradise if we choose the road of salvation. Jesus’ obedience took the posture of not personal will but rather the will of God. My question to you is simple. When you are in your Gethsemane, will it be your will or God’s?