Every coin has two sides. The front is called “heads” and, from early Roman times, usually depicts a country’s head of state. The back is called “tails,” a term possibly originating from the British ten pence depicting the raised tail of a heraldic lion.
Like a coin, Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane possesses two sides. In the deepest hours of His life, on the night before He died on a cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). When Christ says, “take this cup,” that’s the raw honesty of prayer. He reveals His personal desire, “This is what I want.”
Then Jesus turns the coin, praying “not my will.” That’s the side of abandon. Abandoning ourselves to God begins when we simply say, “But what do You want, God?”
This two-sided prayer is also included in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 and is mentioned in John 18. Jesus prayed both sides of prayer: take this cup (what I want, God), yet not My will (what do You want, God?), pivoting between them.
Two sides of Jesus. Two sides of prayer.
When you leave the eastern side of the old city of Jerusalem, you descend into the valley of the Brook Kidron. Once across the Kidron, you come upon the garden of Gethsemane—located at the base of the Mount of Olives and in the shadow of the temple mount and its eastern gate (also known as the Golden Gate). This becomes strategic because Ezekiel 44:1–3 tells us that only the Prince (Messiah) will be able to enter that gate, causing some scholars to believe that when Jesus the Messiah returns, He’ll enter Jerusalem through that gate. It’s appropriate, then, that Jesus would begin His passion in the view of the gate which most represents His final victory. That strategic reality gains added significance in that the Hebrew name for the eastern gate is the “gate of mercy.” Mercy secured through the sufferings of Christ that began in Gethsemane.