GETHSEMANE – THE WINEPRESS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, April 4, 2009

“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me” (Isaiah 63:3).


In a sermon titled, “The Single-Handed Conquest,” Spurgeon said to think deeply about the glorious Wine-presser, Who suffered to pay for our sins, beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Those sins which would have crushed thee to pieces, he had to tread beneath his feet. How it must have bruised his heel to tread upon those sins! O how powerfully he must have trodden on those crimes of thine, breaking them into less than nothing! How did it force from him, not sweat like ours, but drops of blood, when he could say… “I have done it; the great work is fully accomplished, ‘It is finished’; ‘I have trodden the wine-press alone.’”... Go thou on to the time when he commenced the shedding of his blood…in Gethsemane’s Garden!…Come, then, thou chief of sinners, there lie thy sins, and there lie mine, all mingled in one mighty heap! But [stop]; the Wine-presser enters, and puts his foot on them. Oh! contemplate how he presses them; dost thou see him in Gethsemane, treading thy sins to pieces? (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Single-Handed Conquest,” April 24, 1898, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1976 reprint, volume xliv, p. 183).

“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me” (Isaiah 63:3).

It was very late at night. Earlier in the evening Jesus had met with the Disciples for the Passover meal, the “Last Supper.” Then, after midnight, He took the Disciples out of the house. Through the darkness they crossed the brook Kedron and went up the side of the Mount of Olives, and into the Garden of Gethsemane. They entered the darkness of the Garden, and Jesus told eight of the Disciples to

“sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder” (Matthew 26:36).

Dr. John R. Rice tells us that

He took the other three, Peter, James, and John, with Him a little farther to one side. All the disciples were tired and sleepy. They were depressed and sad. The disciples were in no condition of heart to pray. Even Peter, and…James and John…went to sleep. Jesus Himself “went a little farther” than any of the others and eventually did His praying alone. No one else can go as far as Jesus. Though His soul hungered for companionship, comfort and help in prayer, Jesus prayed alone… I believe that God wants us to have fellowship with Christ in meditating on His Gethsemane experience and His death on the cross and try to enter into the understanding of His grief (Dr. John R. Rice, The Gospel According to Matthew, Sword of the Lord, 1980, pp. 439-440).

The Disciples were now asleep. Jesus prayed alone in the Garden, in agony and Blood.

“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me” (Isaiah 63:3).

The name “Gethsemane” means “olive press.” That night the olive press became a winepress. Christ was crushed like the olives are to press out their oil. But Christ did not sweat oil in the Garden. He sweat Blood. And so the place where olives were crushed became the winepress of the Son of God.

Gethsemane, the olive press!
(And why so called let Christians guess);
Fit name, fit place, where vengeance strove
And gripped and grappled hard with love.
   (“Gethsemane, the Olive Press!” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

As the olive press became the winepress for Christ, He entered into unimaginable suffering. Our human minds cannot fully understand the pain Christ experienced in the winepress.

See the suffering Son of God,
Panting, groaning, sweating blood!
Of His sufferings, so intense
Angels have no perfect sense.

Who can rightly comprehend
Their beginning or their end?
‘Tis to God and God alone
That their weight is fully known.
(“Thine Unknown Sufferings” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

I. First, it was a winepress of great alarm.

As Christ entered into Gethsemane, Mark tells us He was “sore amazed” (Mark 14:33). Ekthambeisthai means “greatly amazed,” greatly astonished, distressed and alarmed. What was it that so greatly alarmed the Saviour? Surely it was not the thought of His coming crucifixion. His great alarm came, I think, when “the Lord…laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Here in the winepress of Gethsemane our Lord “‘began to be bruised for our sins’… ‘and began to be sore amazed’; to be in great consternation and astonishment, at the sight of all the sins of his people coming upon him…no wonder it should be added, ‘and to be very heavy’; both with sin and sorrow” (Dr. John Gill).

The great alarm that Jesus felt came from the horror of your sin being placed upon Him. Here Christ fulfilled the type, given in the book of Leviticus, and became for us the true scapegoat.

“And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:21-22).

That little goat was a picture of Christ, let loose alone in the Garden of Gethsemane that night. The goat had been domesticated, kept at a farmhouse. Now it has the sins of the people placed upon it, and it is turned loose, far from home, in the wilderness. The anxiety and fear that little goat would feel alone at night, in the wilds, is only a small picture of the alarm that Jesus felt as He entered the winepress of Gethsemane for our sins.

There my God bore all my guilt;
This through grace can be believed;
But the horrors that he felt
Are too vast to be conceived.
None can penetrate through thee,
Doleful, dark Gethsemane.
None can penetrate through thee,
Doleful, dark Gethsemane.
   (“Many Woes Had He Endured” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me” (Isaiah 63:3).

II. Second, it was a winepress of substitutionary sacrifice.

Luke tells us that, there in the Garden,

“Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22: 44).

“In an agony” – en agōniai, a great conflict of inner suffering.

There were two goats used by Aaron on the Day of Atonement. The first one was turned loose in the wilderness. The second one was slain for a sin offering.

“Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail…and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat” (Leviticus 16:15).

The second goat experienced the agony of having its throat slit as an offering for sin. The fear and pain this little animal felt is only a small picture, a type of Christ. Jesus in His suffering is the antitype, the fulfillment.

“Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”
      (Luke 22:44).

The prophet Isaiah said,

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin”
      (Isaiah 53:10).

Surely this began in the winepress of Gethsemane!

‘Tis midnight; and for others’ guilt,
   The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
Yet He that hath in anguish knelt
   Is not forsaken by His God.
(“’Tis Midnight; And on Olive’s Brow” by William B. Tappan, 1794-1849).

Jesus walked in the winepress as a substitute for you and me. We should have been there, going through agony for our sins. And you will go through great agony, in Hell, unless you turn to Christ, and embrace Him as your Saviour. When you trust in Christ, your agony becomes His agony. This is vicarious atonement. Another person, Christ Himself, takes the pain you should have felt. The vicarious atonement of Christ for your sins began in the winepress of Gethsemane.

‘Tis midnight; and for others’ guilt,
   The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood.

When I ask you to tell me what Jesus has done for you, can you say,

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin”?
       (Isaiah 53:10).

If you can’t say anything about the vicarious suffering Christ went through to save you, why should you call yourself a Christian? Throw off your unbelief and come to the Blood-drenched Saviour!

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
   (“Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

‘Tis midnight; and for others’ guilt,
   The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood.

“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me” (Isaiah 63:3).

III. Third, it was a winepress of abandonment.

Matthew tells us that He

“began to be sorrowful and very heavy” (Matthew 26:37).

Spurgeon gives these comments on the words “very heavy”:

Upon the word adēmonein translated “very heavy,” Goodwin remarks that there was a distraction in the Saviour’s agony since the root of the word signifies “separated from the people – men in distraction, being separated from mankind.” (C. H. Spurgeon, “Gethsemane,” number 493, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1979, volume xix, page 74).

“He must tread the winepress alone, and of the people there must be none with him” (Spurgeon, ibid,. p. 73). The Saviour was now separated from mankind, entering into His suffering for our sins alone.

He was abandoned by the Disciples, who went fast to sleep as He became “very heavy” for their sins – and ours.

“And [He] began to be sorrowful and very heavy”
       (Matthew 26:37).

Dr. Gill says,

Now he is bruised, and put to grief by his father: his sorrows now begin, for they did not end here, but on the cross, or that this was but a bare beginning of his sorrows, or that these were but light in comparison of the future ones; for they were very heavy, and indeed seem to be the heaviest of all, as appears from his own account of them; his vehement cry to his father; his bloody sweat and agony; and the assistance he stood in need of from an angel; and the comfort and strength he received from him in his human nature: All which, put together, the like which is not to be observed in any part of his sufferings: and to be very heavy; with the weight of the sins of his people, and the sense of divine wrath, with which he was so pressed and overwhelmed, that his spirits were almost quite gone; he was ready to swoon away, sink and die; his heart failed him…before the wrath of God…his soul was beset all around with the sins of his people; these took hold on him, and encompassed him…the sorrows of death and hell surrounded him on every side, insomuch that the least degree of comfort was not let in to him; nor was there any way open for it, so that his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow; his heart was ready to break; he was brought even, as it were, to the dust of death; nor would his sorrows leave him, he was persuaded, until his soul and body were separated from each other (Dr. John Gill, An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, p. 334).

It was alone the Saviour prayed In dark Gethsemane;
Alone He drained the bitter cup, And suffered there for me;
Alone, alone, he bore it all alone;
He gave Himself to save His own;
He suffered, bled and died, Alone, alone.
   (“Alone” by Ben H. Price, 1914).

“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me” (Isaiah 63:3).

Thus, we see what Jesus did to save us. His vicarious suffering began in Gethsemane, where He received our sins, and took them to the Cross.

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

Christ took our sins from Gethsemane to the Cross, where He “died for our sins according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3).

If you are a Christian, look back again and again to His sufferings, and you will be strengthened in times of temptation, and comforted in times of trial. If you are still unsaved, throw yourself on Christ, and He will cleanse your sins by His Blood.

Here’s my calm, and here alone;
None a Saviour more can need;
Deeds of righteousness I’ve none;
No, not one good work to plead;
Not a glimpse of hope for me,
Only in Gethsemane.
   (“Many Woes Had He Endured” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers’ sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”


THE OUTLINE OF

GETHSEMANE – THE WINEPRESS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me” (Isaiah 63:3).

(Matthew 26:36)

I.   First, it was a winepress of great alarm, Mark 14:33;
Isaiah 53:6; Leviticus 16:21-22.

II.   Second, it was a winepress of substitutionary sacrifice,
Luke 22:44; Leviticus 16:15; Isaiah 53:10.

III. Third, it was a winepress of abandonment, Matthew 26:37; Isaiah 53:6; I Corinthians 15:3.