Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
47 While he was still speaking, Judas,
one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with
swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the
people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”[b]
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am
I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to
capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Jesus said: ‘I want your will to happen.’
These verses are very serious. They show that Jesus’
death was necessary. They describe clearly just how awful his death would be.
Verses 1–16 emphasized the fact of Jesus’ death. Verses 17–29 explained the reason for his death. These verses showed that his death was necessary. They showed, too, how awful that death would be.
The agony (extreme pain)
Read verses 36–42. They help us to see a little bit of what Jesus was suffering. But words cannot really describe just how terrible Jesus felt. Jesus felt that he was ‘very close to death’ even then. [Note: Luke was a doctor. In his book, he said that drops of blood from Jesus fell to the ground. This is in Luke 22:44. It is a medical state. It only happens with extreme pain of the emotions and of the mind.] Because of his extreme pain, Jesus wanted to be with his best friends.
Men and women know extreme pain and despair too. This happens
especially when they will soon die. But Jesus’ pain was worse. Jesus was God as
well as man. So, we may think that he could not feel the same agony as us. This
passage shows us that the opposite is true. Jesus’ agony was greater. This was
because he knew what would happen (verse 39). We do not know the future. If we
did, we might not be able to bear the pain of it. So God is very kind to us.
But Jesus knew all that would happen. And something else made his extreme pain even worse. Jesus was the holy God. He hated sin. Now, he would be in the power of sinners (verse 45). He had created them. But they would kill him!
There was even more. Jesus knew that Judas would not be loyal. He
would lead the enemies to Jesus. (Read verses 21–25 and 46–50.) Jesus knew,
too, that his close friends would leave him. (Read verses 31–35 and 56b.)
Finally, Jesus knew that he could escape. He could escape, if he chose to do
that. (See verse 53. A legion was 6000 men.) But he knew that he would not do
this. He chose to die.
This passage emphasizes that it was necessary for Jesus to die. Jesus had peace in the time of his troubles. He had the strength to continue. But, like us, he did not want to die (verse 39). But the Father did not stop his Son from dying on the cross. This shows us that there was no other way. It was the only way to bring men and women to God. The NT writers understood this well. (Read Acts 4:12.) We can have peace with God only because of Jesus.
Even Jesus’ three closest friends left him. (Read verses 40–41.) All the disciples left him too. (Read verses 43, 45 and 56.) Jesus knew that men are weak. He knew it better that they did (verse 31)! Jesus knew everything that would happen. But he did not run away from it. He was the only person who could be as brave as that.
Finally, notice what Jesus was like on the way to the cross. He was so gentle and kind. He told his disciples that they would leave him. But he told them something else too. He would welcome them back afterwards (verse 32)! That was how it would always be.
1. Jesus forgives you when you do not trust him. Can you really
say that you forgive yourself? It is hard for some people to forgive
themselves. How could you help such a person?
2. Muslims say that Jesus cannot be the Son of God. This is
because he suffered such extreme pain. What could you say to them?
3. How can one person’s death save other people from death?