Jesus' three agonizing prayers in Gethsemane
|Matthew 26:30, 36-46
|Mark 14:26, 32-42
|30And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
|26And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
|39And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
|1When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
|36Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
|32And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
|39And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
|35And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
|41And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
|40And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
|37And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
|45And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
|42He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
|39And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.
|43And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
|40And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.
|45Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
|41And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.
Mount of Olives
The mountainous ridge called the Mount of Olives stretches totay from the Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus in the north to the Jewish cemetery and beyond, to the village of Silwan in the south. Between these two ends of the mountain are the olive trees from which the mountain takes its name. The area at the bottom of the mountain would have been the place for the olive gardens and an olive press, “Gat shemen” in Hebrew, from which the name “Gethsemane” comes.
The gospels record on more than one occasion Jesus’ sorrow for Jerusalem as he made his way down the slopes of the Mount of Olives. It was a path he would have known from childhood from His many visits to Jerusalem.
Down the road from Bethphage He came riding on a donkey colt with palm branches symbolic of Judaea strewn along the way. “Hosanna!” (“save now!”) was the cry upon the lips of the people (Matthew 21:1-9). This prayer from Psalm 118:25 was a request for salvation. Yet Jesus knew that these cries would be changed within a week to “Crucify him!” He wept again for Jerusalem, for He knew what would befall the people in less than one generation as the city would be besieged and taken.
Garden of Gethsemane
Towards the end of Palm Sunday Road, we come to Gethsemane. Gethsemane means “oil press” or “oil stores”. In Hebrew it is gat shemanim. It is a place where we find ancient olive trees and olive presses and storage areas.
Gethsemane is the place of many events in the life of Jesus: his betrayal, teaching of his disciples, and time spent alone with his Father. Luke 21:37 tells us that Jesus slept here at night; Luke 29:39 tells us that it was his custom to go here, and John 18:2 tells that Jesus often met his disciples here. The present location fits the description of Gethsemane at the time of Jesus and this tradition has been maintained since about 330 A.D. In this area, we find the Garden of Gethsemane, the Basilica of the Agony, and the Cave of Betrayal.
The Franciscan Church of All Nations contains the Garden of Gethsemane outside and the Basilica of the Agony within. In the garden, there are eight olive trees that may well be over 1,000 years old. The olive tree does not die, but continues to live even if cut down, by producing new shoots from its roots.
The Garden of Gethsemane is the place where Jesus left his disciples and asked them to sit while he went to pray (Matthew 26:36). He then took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James and John) and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. He asked them to wait there and keep watch for him as he went a little farther where he fell on his face and prayed (at the rock in the Basilica of Agony) (Matthew 26:37 46). It is interesting to note that Peter, James and John were the three who witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus and the glory of it, and now they were witnessing the agony and the perfect submission of Jesus to the will of his Father.