1 Go to dark Gethsemane,
all who feel the temper’s power;
your Redeemer’s conflict see,
watch with him one bitter hour:
turn not from his griefs away —
teach us, Lord, how we should pray.
2 Follow to the judgment hall,
view the Lord of life arraigned.
Oh, the wormwood and the gall!
Oh, the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss —
help us, Lord, to bear our cross.
3 Calvary’s mournful mountain climb;
there, adoring at his feet,
mark the miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete:
“It is finished!” hear him cry —
save us, Lord, when death draws nigh.
4 Early hasten to the tomb
where they laid his breathless clay:
all is solitude and gloom.
Who has taken him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes.
Savior, teach us so to rise.
The text exhorts us to follow Christ as we meditate on his sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane (st. 1), on his suffering on the cross (st. 2), and on his sacrificial death (st. 3); each stanza ends with a corresponding petition.
The first few stanzas of this hymn recount the experiences of Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane and on Calvary. Belgic Confession, Articles 20 and 21 confess the significance of these sufferings in Christ’s priestly role and how he “endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.”
The account of his suffering and death in stanzas 1-4 is given a much more full explanation in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 15-16, Questions and Answers 37-43: “Nothing else could pay for our sins except the death of the son of God.”
The end of stanza 5 proclaims the resurrection of Christ as the source of our hope. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 17, Question and Answer 45 clearly testifies of its benefits for us: “…so that he might make us share in the righteousness he obtained for us by his death…we too are already raised to a new life…(and it) is a sure pledge to us of our blessed resurrection.”