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Mark 14:32–52 -
The Prayer in Gethsemane
The Gardenof Gethsemane is located somewhere on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem and across the Kidron Valley (the exact location remains unknown). Jesus frequented the garden, often as a retreat from the bustling city, especially during Jewish festivals when pilgrims would flood the city and temple. The Mount of Olives is situated along the main road connecting Jerusalem and Jericho, with the Judean Wilderness between. This route was often used by God’s people for pilgrimage purposes or even to escape from enemies by fleeing deep into the wilderness. When Jesus retired to the garden the night of his arrest, he had two options: recommit himself to his Father’s will, or escape his accusers by fleeing over the ridge and into the wilderness.
32 And they came to a place named Gethsemane,and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took along Peter and James and John with him,
What future roles are these three men being prepared for?
and he began to be distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death.
Jesus’ grief is so intense it would have been fatal had he not prayed. Jesus’ suffering will not just be physical. He has been rejected by his people, Israel. He will even be abandoned by his Father [10:45] as he bears the sin of his people on the cross [Isaiah 53:6, 10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24]
Remain here and stay awake.”
The three just have to stay awake.
35 And going forward a little he fell to the ground and began to pray
Jews usually prayed standing with arms outstretched. What does Jesus’ posture indicate?
that, if it were possible, the hour would pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you! Take away this cup from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
The “cup” metaphor was used earlier by Jesus [10:38-39]. “In the OT it is regularly used as a metaphor of punishment and judgment”. Even in such horrific circumstances Jesus prays that his Father’s will be done.
37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Were you not able to stay awake one hour? 38 Stay awake and pray that you will not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!”
How is Mark using the word here? Is it “spirit” or “Spirit”?
39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same thing. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, ⌊for they could not keep their eyes open [lit. “for their eyes were weighed down”], and they did not know what to reply to him.
The cycle repeats. Jesus, in utter anguish goes a short distance to pray and the three fall asleep.
41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?
And again, a third time.
What is happening? How often are we like this?
It is enough! The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up, let us go! Behold, the one who is betraying me is approaching!”
Yet again Mark draws attention to the deliberateness and timing of events by the Father.
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
43 And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas—one of the twelve—arrived, and with him a crowd [ὄχλος] with swords [μαχαιρῶν] and clubs [ξύλων], from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
The Jewish leaders send a mob to arrest Jesus.
Was this even lawful under Roman rule?
44 Now the one who was betraying him had given them a sign, saying, “The one whom I kiss—he is the one. Arrest him and lead him away under guard!”
Why was sign needed? What is the utter irony of the sign used?
45 And when he arrived, he came up to him immediately and said, “Rabbi,” and kissed him. 46 So they laid hands on him and arrested him.
47 But a certain one of the bystanders, drawing his sword, struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.
Who is the bystander [John 18:10]? How does this fit his character portrayal?
48 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as against a robber, to arrest me? 49 Every day I was with you in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me! But this has happenedin order that the scriptures would be fulfilled. 50 And they all abandoned him and fled.
Again and again, the preordination of these events is brought to our attention.
51 And a certain young man was following him, clothed only in a linen cloth on his naked body. And they attempted to seize him, 52 but he left behind the linen cloth and fled naked.
8. Who might the young man be? Why?
"Greek kēpos, (κῆπος) simply indicates an agricultural space, and we would be better off imagining a cultivated stretch of hillside, with terracing, olive trees, and industrial installations such as oil presses carved into the exposed bedrock, enclosed with a rough stone wall, not unlike Palestinian orchards today." Aubrey L. Taylor, “In the Garden of Gethsemane,” in Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels, ed. Barry J. Beitzel and Kristopher A. Lyle, Lexham Geographic Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 477–478.
“The name Gethsemane (Gethsēmani, Γεθσημανί in Greek) comes from the Hebrew gat šĕmānê,meaning oil press. Presses for olive oil were often conveniently located within olive groves so that the harvest could be processed on site.” Aubrey L. Taylor, “In the Garden of Gethsemane,” in Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels, ed. Barry J. Beitzel and Kristopher A. Lyle, Lexham Geographic Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 477.
Aubrey L. Taylor, “In the Garden of Gethsemane,” in Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels, ed. Barry J. Beitzel and Kristopher A. Lyle, Lexham Geographic Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 476.
Walter W. Wessel, “Mark,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 764.
The phrase “this has happened” is not in the Greek text, but is understood and must be supplied in the translation because of English style; cf. the parallel in Matt 26:56
"The identity of the young man is unknown. It is often conjectured to have been Mark himself, who is supposed to have interjected this tidbit about his own story in order to say that he too abandoned Jesus along with the Twelve." Douglas Mangum, ed., Lexham Context Commentary: New Testament, Lexham Context Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020), Mk 14:43–52.