I often reflect on the Atonement Jesus made for us, and enjoy digging through articles, books and scriptures for more information about it. I really didn't know much about what had happened when He prayed in Gethsemane. I knew He had asked the eight Apostles to wait near the entrance, and took Peter, James and John further into the garden with Him. Admonishing them to watch and pray, He advanced a "stone's throw" beyond them, and knelt and prayed. In the record He prayed three times, twice returning to wake the Apostles, and asking them to pray with Him. The third time He told them to sleep on-until the traitor, Judas, arrived to betray Him.
I knew there must be more that happened, but how could I discover what it was? The records of Mathew, Mark, and Luke are second hand because Matthew never went beyond the entrance, and Mark and Luke had not yet been called as Apostles. John who did go into the garden, but says nothing at all about anything that happened until Judas arrived. I determined to dig in the scriptures for references, prophecies, or types that pointed to Gethsemane, and try to infer from them what happened.
I find that taking the scriptures literally gives me ideas to sketch and to paint that taking them metaphorically didn't even hint at. It became a process of finding new questions I wanted answers to. The following are some of the questions, and some of the answers I came up with.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Priest's Bridge: Centuries of warfare had left the bottom of the Kidron Valley yards deep with dead bodies, graves, and the rubble of countless sieges.  It was impossible to cross the valley floor without becoming defiled.  The wine and olive oil for the Temple was grown and pressed on the Mount of Olives and had to be transported to the Temple, so the Priests built a high, narrow, two tier, stone bridge across the valley so that the stone and arches would prevent the defilement from rising to the walkway at the top, and the wine and olive oil being carried across to the Temple.  It was also the path taken by the various "Red Heffers" (see Numbers: 19)sacrificed on the Mount of Olives. As the Messiah was to be the final Red Heffer offering, Jesus also led His 11 remaining Apostles over the Bridge to the Gate of the Garden of Gethsemane.  In the painting, I show them crossing the bridge beneath the glow of the full moon of the Passover.

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