Victory in the Garden: A Holy Land Experience

The Garden of Gethsemane

A couple of years ago, in January 2020, God blessed David and me to travel and visit the Holy Land with a tour group.  Six of us from Alabama joined a larger group of people from different parts of the country for a 10-day trip.

We visited several well-known Biblical sites such as the Upper Room and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and Bethlehem which is the birthplace of Jesus. We also visited the Garden of Gethsemane, the Sea of Galilee, the Judean Wilderness, the Dead Sea, Jericho, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Nazareth, Jericho, and other places in the Holy Land. Bible stories came alive as we saw and experienced those places. For example, when we were driving across the Judean Wilderness, I saw mountains with huge rocks and caves. In the Old Testament, David spent many years hiding in the caves in the wilderness to protect himself from his enemies (I Samuel 22-23). When I saw the huge rocks and mountains in the Judean wilderness, I remember the verse that David wrote in the book of Psalms:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

While touring the area around the Sea of Galilee, I remembered the story in the Gospels where Jesus met His disciples, and the time He walked on the waters of this huge lake.

There is so much to share about this trip.  I hope to write a book about my experiences.

Another touching and significant experience from this Holy Land trip was the visit to the Garden of Gethsemane. The modern-day Garden of Gethsemane is managed by the “Church of All Nations” or the “Basilica of the Agony.” Many churches from different countries contributed to the preservation of the site and built a beautifully magnificent cathedral adjacent to the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Church of All Nations, Jerusalem

In the Bible, the Garden of Gethsemane is the place where Jesus spent a late night praying before His arrest. According to the Gospel of Matthew, “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 26:36)

The Garden of Gethsemane

As soon as we entered the Garden area and saw the rows of ancient Olive trees, I felt the strong presence of the Lord. It was an awesome experience! I was in tears. I almost felt the agony of the Lord Jesus when He wrestled and prayed, “God’s will, not my will be done…” It was also surprising to see some old olive trees, hundreds or even thousands of years old, still bearing fruit.

I often hear preaching and teaching that Christ won the victory over the enemy at the cross when He gave His life on Calvary. While at the Garden, I felt a sense of revelation that Jesus had actually won the battle, not at the cross, but in the Garden of Gethsemane. There in the garden, Jesus prayed a prayer of surrender. Jesus had an absolute surrender to His loving Father, trusting Him for the best outcome. It was a time of surrender to God’s perfect will for Him, and for the salvation of many. It was Jesus’ battle against human flesh and against Satan’s final temptation. He had overcome the battle with a complete surrender to the Father. Thus, the Father made Jesus the Triumphant Winner! It was a complete Victory in the Garden.

From the Gospel of Matthew:

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will…’”

“Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.’” (Matthew 26:39, 42)

Whatever struggles and challenges you are going through in life, Jesus knows and understands. Like Jesus, as we surrender our lives and will to Father God, He will give you the victory!

When our team came back to our hotel at the end of that day, during my personal time with the Lord, the Holy Spirit gave me this poem, “Victory in the Garden:”

Victory In The Garden

There in the Garden

My Savior pled,

There in the Garden

My Savior knelt down and prayed,
“Father, not my will

But Your will be done”

There in the garden

My Lord surrendered

To His Father’s divine plan

Yet He had won

the Victor’s crown

There in the garden

My Savior wept

He cried bloody tears of surrender

There in the garden

My Savior won over sin and temptation

Death and evil no longer have dominion

There in the garden,

My Savior won Victor’s Crown.

(Matthew 26:36-45)

Other Bible Readings:  Mark 14:32-36; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1-11

All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version, NKJV.

By dvcreel

David & Vicki Creel serving with FEBC

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