In making pure olive oil in the ancient world, olives were crushed. A huge round stone was rolled causing enormous pressure and trauma needed for the oil to flow. Gethsemane, translated literally, means the place of the olive press. The olive press is a symbol of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, while the olive tree throughout the scriptures has represented the tribes of Israel. In this painting it may also represent the weight of the sins of the world. The disciples, like many of us are asleep at the press.
“And he said unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry thee here and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him” (Mark 14:34-35).
In the painting The Olive Press it helped me realize the great sacrifice and reality of the Atonement. I hope it can do the same for you.