|Gethsemane by Carl Heinrich Bloch|
Gethsemane was a crucial point in the life of Jesus. He was finally and irrevocably faced with the consequences of his actions; it was the summation and culmination of his deeds, of his life. He was looking death squarely in the eye.
But he had a final chance. This was it. He could take it or leave it. He had the opportunity to call it off or to accept the consequences. It was the most important night and prayer of his life. In Gethsemane, he knew as a fact, clearer than ever, what was awaiting him. He realized that his years of hard work and “campaigning” had brought him there. He felt he had been guided by an invisible hand up to that point. He was aware that to become a realized man, one has to fully face one's destiny.
As it is with such decisions, they have to be taken willingly, otherwise they lose their value. Yes, Jesus was betrayed, but it was a betrayal that still left him options. He was not poisoned or stabbed in the back (at least not literally); there was still time left to escape death or perhaps even rectify the situation; he could have cut a deal with the Romans when he was facing Pilate and the high priests.
Yet, not unlike Socrates, he decided that running away was futile, cowardly, and counterproductive. Exile as an escape was to both a horrendous option; it meant death, not of the body, but rather of the spirit. Strangely enough, by being ready to lay down their lives for what each perceived as the truth equated with the fact that their existence would continue for time immemorial. So they accepted martyrdom for what went beyond the limited scope of human life and each embraced the great beyond of the divine.
However, the greatest doubt of Jesus must have been merely moments before his death. I cannot possibly imagine the horror that must have flashed through his mind when he suddenly thought, what if all that he had done had been in vain, what if God had forsaken him. Yet this moment, which may have lasted an eternity in the dying man's perspective, passed, and Jesus accepted that he was willingly sacrificing himself, and he commended his spirit into the hands of God.