The Garden of Gethsemane (the name means “oil press”) is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Ancient trees in the garden are said to be 900 years old.
Mark 14:27-52 (New Living Translation)
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
27 On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
28 But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
29 Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.”
1 Corinthians 10:12 (Amplified Bible)
Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].
30 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
31 “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
32 They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. 34 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
A miniature from the Rosenwald Book of Hours, 1533, now in the Library of Congress.
from Whispers of his Power,
by Amy Carmichael
Mary Mozley of Central Africa wrote in a letter: “Somebody suggested this thought to me, and it came home to me the other day in reading about Christ in Gethsemane—that the way to show true sympathy is not to pity, but to stand by and strengthen the sufferer to do God’s will. And in Gethsemane, when Christ turned to the three for sympathy, it was with the words, ‘Watch with Me,’ ‘Stand by Me.’ He asked for no pity, but for the strengthening which might seem a feeble help, just that they might let their presence and prayer tell there for Him, to strengthen Him to do the will of God.”
The Lord help each one of us to “stand by” one another with just this kind of bracing sympathy.
35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
HERE is “Gethsemane” by Keith (piano) and Kristyn (voice) Getty, modern-day hymn writers.
37 Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 38 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Jesus found victory at the cross by succeeding in the struggle in Gethsemane. Peter – just like us – failed in later temptation because he failed to watch and pray. The spiritual battle is often won or lost before the crisis comes.
Let it never be said that we could not watch with Him one hour.
39 Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. 40 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say.
“Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping,
that awake we may watch with Christ,
and asleep we may rest in peace.”
–from the liturgy for Compline, Book of Common Prayer
41 When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
“The Taking of Christ” by Caravaggio, c. 1602 (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin)
43 And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. 44 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.” 45 As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.
46 Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 47 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.
48 Jesus asked them, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 49 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about me.”
50 Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away. 51 One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, 52 he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.
Long tradition has assumed that this young man is Mark, the writer of this gospel. In this quiet way he says, “I was there.”
(During Mark, portions of this book will be presented to help us understand our faith more deeply than perhaps we have before. I hope you enjoy learning more about Jesus as a Jewish man — and through these passages, see and appreciate more clearly the Jewish roots of our Christian faith.)
It seems likely that the smell of the perfume with which Mary anointed Jesus would have lingered for days. God may have used Mary’s act of devotion to telegraph a subtle but powerful message. Everywhere Jesus went during the final days of his life he had the fragrance of royalty. Jesus smelled like a king.
Imagine, in the garden of Gethsemane, as Judas and the guards approached Jesus to arrest him, the guards must have sniffed the air and wondered who stood before them. When Jesus was on trial, mocked, whipped, and stripped naked, even then the aroma may have clung to him. What an amazing God we have!
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ [the Anointed One] among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
As Jesus’ followers, we spread the fragrance of our anointed Messiah everywhere we go.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.