Summary: Jesus and the Eleven Disciples left the upper room and walked over to the Garden of Gethsemane. There Jesus prayed earnestly to the Father. Even though the disciples had come along with Him, our Lord was probably never so alone as He was at this time.
Introduction: Jesus and the eleven disciples finished their time in the Upper Room. Judas Iscariot had left them so he could betray Jesus to the chief priests and others. He missed out on the truths which our Lord shared with the others in John 14-16, and the Lord’s beautiful beyond words in John 17. Now Jesus and the others were heading for a place they had apparently visited often when they were in Judea (John 18:1-2).
But now, the Lord definitely felt the urge for prayer. He asked Peter, James, and John to go with Him to Gethsemane, across the valley of the Kidron (John 18:1) and outside of Jerusalem. If anyone can read the four accounts of what happened there in the “garden” of Gethsemane, and not be moved, I don’t know what else to say. Our Lord did all this for us so that we might have salvation by grace through faith!
1 Accompanied by the disciples
Text, Mark 14:32-34, KJV: 32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
Mark states here that “they”, the Eleven Disciples, walked with Jesus to Gethsemane. Because, as John said, they crossed the Kidron (Cedron, KJV), Gethsemane was outside Jerusalem, near the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:39). As nobody knows for certain which house the Lord and disciples used, it’s not certain how far they walked in order to reach Gethsemane. Interestingly, the word or name “Gethsemane” means “oil press” or “olive press” and some pressing things indeed were about to happen to our Lord.
How long it may have taken them to get to Gethsemane from the “upper room” is never stated. It’s likely this was a journey few if any of them wanted to take but knowing what they knew, that the Lord was going to leave them, they may not have wanted this journey to end, either. The Lord, after all, had spoken many things to them (John 14-16) on the way to this place, and He had even paused to offer His “high priestly prayer” recorded in John 17.
But here they were. And sure enough, things began to happen.
Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him and left the other eight men where they were. He told them to stay put while He went to pray. May we never forget how often our Lord spent time praying to His Father. It wouldn’t hurt us to spend more time with our Heavenly Father, as well.
Leaving the others where they were (implied), Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him and apparently went a distance away from the others. Mark adds these alarming words:, “He began to be sore amazed and to be very heavy.” Bible teachers and preachers have wondered just what really was going on; one radio preacher compared this account with Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts and came to the conclusion that the Devil was trying to kill Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane before He would be crucified. It may have been even worse than anything you or I could even imagine. I don’t remember reading anywhere else in the Gospels that Jesus was in such turmoil as this. He even said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death!”
Who could endure pain or stress like that for very long? And the Lord had brought along three of His disciples, asking them to stay and keep watch (be on the alert).
Even though He had brought the disciples, and asked three of them to go with Him where He prayed, He was still very much alone, except for the Father.
2 Alone while He prayed
Text, Mark 14:35-42, KJV: 35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And 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. 37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 39 And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 40 And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. 41 And 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. 42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.