Wayne S. Walker

“My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and
watch with Me” (Matt. 26.38).

     INTRO.:  A song which pictures the scene of Christ’s sorrow in the
garden and makes application to us is “In Gethsemane Alone” (#170 in
“Hymns for Worship Revised”).  The text was written and the tune was
composed both by Samuel E. Reed (1879-1959).  It was copyrighted in 1912
by the Trio Music Co.  I have not been able to locate any information
about the author/composer, the circumstances of the hymn’s origin, nor
the original source of publication.

     However, the Trio Music Co. was founded at Waco, TX, in 1895 by
Franklin L. Eiland, J. E. Thomas, and John M. Greer.  Others were later
added to the company, such as Emmet S. Dean and H. W. Elliot.  It
published many songbooks, beginning with “The Dawning Light,” that were
popular among brethren, especially in the southwest.  Thomas left to form
the Quartet Music Co. at Ft. Worth, TX, and I believe that the Quartet
Co. eventually bought out the Trio Co.

     The earliest hymnbooks used among churches of Christ from my
collection in which I have been able to find this song are some of Will
Slater’s books, such as his 1940 “Praise and Revival Songs” (#4), the
1944 “Gospel Songs and Hymns” (#231), and the 1952 “Hymns of Praise and
Devotion” (#231).  Its popularity is probably due to being included in
the 1956 “Sacred Selections for the Church” (#311) edited by Ellis J.
Crum.  In addition to “Sacred Selections” and  “Hymns for Worship,” it is
found today in the 1971 “Songs of the Church” (#259) and the 1990 “Songs
of the Church 21st C. Ed.” (#138) both edited by Alton H. Howard, and the
1992 “Praise for the Lord” (#310) edited by John P. Wiegand.

     The song tells what Gethsemane means to us and why it is so

I. Stanza 1 reminds us that it is a manifestation of God’s love for us
 A. The fact that Jesus was willing to come to this earth, suffer, and
die for us is the result of God’s great love: Jn. 3.16, Rom. 5.8
 B. Because of this love, He made atonement for us: Rom. 5.11 (KJV)
 C. And all of this was done out of “His matchless grace”: Rom. 3.24,
Eph. 2.8-9

II. Stanza 2 says that Gethsemane is an expression of the Savior’s
empathy with us
 A. The Bible records the story of how Jesus asked Peter, James, and John
to watch with Him while He prayed: Matt. 26.39-46
 B. “But they heard no bitter moan;” the gospel accounts mention two
other times when Jesus was on earth that He shed tears: Lk. 19.41-44, Jn.
 C. And, now in Gethsemane, the “Loving Savior wept” not for His own sins
but because of ours and the terrible price that He had to pay to save us:
Heb. 5.7-9

III. Stanza 3 tells us that Gethsemane was part of God’s plan to save us
from sin
 A. “Our sin to Him was known”–that’s why He died: Rom. 3.23, 1 Cor.
 B. Therefore, “we should love Him evermore” because of what He did for
us: Jn. 10.11, 15.13; 1 Jn. 3.16
 C. And this is especially true because of the suffering and “anguish
that He bore”: 1 Pet. 2.21, 3.18

     CONCL.:  The chorus repeats the fact that Gethsemane is an
expression of the love for us of both the Father in sending the Son and
the Son in suffering in our behalf.  This song is often used to prepare
our minds for partaking the Lord’s supper, and it is a good one to do
that (especially if we sing it the way it is written and not make it too
“bouncy”). Singing these words will encourage us to commit our lives to
Christ in return for what He experienced “In Gethsemane Alone.”

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