The glistening wooden counter beckoned as I entered. The intoxicating aromas of bonito shavings, steamed rice, and sweet rice vinegar were unmistakable. I was back!
I nodded as the chef gestured to the two familiar chairs at the sushi counter. For nearly fifteen years, it has been my privilege to dine at this sushi master’s restaurant. The sushi is exquisite with many items flown in from his hometown in Toyama, Japan. As powerful as the memories of the many delicacies I have savored, the restaurant occupies another special place in my heart. Whenever I need to close an important deal, I always conduct it at this restaurant. The food, the atmosphere, all of it combines to create a familiar and comfortable environment, one where I can think clearly and strategically.
When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.
John 18:1-2 (NKJV)
Jesus Christ chose the Garden of Gethsemane for His final evening before His crucifixion. The Gospel of John gives some insight why He chose this location, it was a frequent meeting place with His disciples. Familiar, comfortable, what better place to gather with His disciples to ready Himself for His time of impending anguish? Within hours, He would be tortured and the entire weight of all the sins of mankind would be thrust upon His broken body. Aware of what awaited Him, Jesus cried out to God to strengthen His resolve to complete His mission.
…”Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Luke 22:42-44 (NKJV)
We will never begin to understand the unimaginable suffering that Jesus experienced as He was about to be separated from God, His Father, for the first time by our sins. But we can identify with Jesus’ desire to be in a familiar location surrounded by His closest friends as He resolved to complete His sacrifice for us.
What a glorious God we serve who understands our deepest fears and needs when we need Him to help us with difficult decisions. He will comfort and support us with the same comfort that He received from God, the Father.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.