Oh, dear friend! I am so sorry that your day was one of such pain. The enemy of our souls had a terrific time ripping you to shreds just as he did to Jesus so many years ago with whip and thorns and nails. You have endured so much suffering.
Thankfully, you KNOW our Savior who suffered and He KNOWS you and He KNOWS your suffering. Not one bit of it will be wasted! Not one bit.
As olives must be pressed to release their precious oil, our Savior’s spirit was pressed on this Maundy Thursday in Gethsemane, so long ago.
I stood in the Garden of Gethsemane, on western slope of the Mount of Olives. They said some of the trees, like the one above, were there with Jesus—that’s how old they are. I stood under those trees and reflected on the meaning of Gethsemane. It means “oil press”.
Our Savior knelt in prayer under these trees—the very trees from which His cross was made. And I thought about pressing—all the pressing that went on here in this grove of the Holy One. I thought about how olives were strewn on a huge stone and how another huge stone came down on them, pressing them hard until the olives released their oil. And the life of the olives poured out and into a trough where it was caught and held and casked. Precious, fragrant, goodness. Pressed—and poured in—and poured out—for good.
Jesus knows how pressed we are. He knows. He feels. He was in the garden of pressing, looking over the valley toward Golgotha—the place of the skull—the place of the cross. He knew exactly what was coming the next day. He was so hard-pressed that He wept blood tears. And He was pressed—not just for our sins, but for our suffering. Willingly, He took the full brunt of human suffering—the full brunt of the death press—in order to identify fully with all who suffer. Every—single—one of us. He suffered in mind, body, and spirit—just as we do—even more. He knows. He feels.
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers, in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
And again he says,
“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:10-18
Not one drop of oil our God has pressed out of you will be dropped or wasted. Every drop is precious and made holy by Him. He will hold each tear and bottle them and use them to bring many to glory—to His glory—first you, then others. He KNOWS your pain—all of it—every drop of it pressed from you.
He has been to the garden. He was pressed in spirit.
He has been to the cross. He was ripped to the bone and nailed to a tree and speared and poured out.
He has been to the grave. He was discarded by men and left to rot.
But He did not rot.
He was raised from the dead! He conquered the grave! He walked the earth in resurrected, perfected flesh! And we will too! He ascended to Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father! The Sovereign reigns!
Jesus will come back for us as He promised—for all of creation—and ALL will be made perfect. And we will reign with Him who suffered for our suffering.
Here is our hope, our vision of glory coming . . . .
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
“It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” Revelation 21:1-7
Pressing is never the end. Pressing is only the beginning. And He is with us always—in and through EVERY pressing—holding out His holy, nail-scarred hands such that no drop will fall to the ground and be wasted. Into His hands, we can commit our spirit. For in Revelation 19:11 and 22:13, Jesus is called . . . .
Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and End
This—is Gospel. This—is Good News. This—is our hope—our future.
And for now—in our gethsemane gardens . . . .
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed . . . . For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal. Hebrews 4:8-9, 17-18
Take heart, dear friend! Hold onto Him who is our hope! And in those moments when you feel you can’t hold on—press in. Press into the One who holds you dear. Press in!
You are so incredibly, fully, inexpressibly—LOVED.
Photos in order:
Olive tree in Garden of Gethsemane