Who Heard the Prayer of Gethsemane?


Who heard the prayer in Gethsemane?

Reading through the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane’s Garden struck my attention. A prayer which showed unwillingness and submission from the son to the father, but what struck me the most was the confusion of who heard the prayer and how was it recorded in three of the four above gospels?

After the last supper Jesus predicts Judas’ betrayal as well as Peter’s denial. Jesus takes his disciples and goes to Gethsemane. He requests from his disciples to stay while he goes further away to pray taking with him only Peter, James and John in which he then asks them to keep watch as he moves further away from them in order to pray as he felt sorrowful and troubled.

Matthew 26
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.”

Mark 14
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

What was the distance Jesus moved away from the disciples (Peter, James and John)? The Gospel of Luke provides us with an estimation.

Luke 22
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 HE WITHDREW ABOUT A STONE’S THROW BEYOND THEM, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

For further clarification let’s look at Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

And he was withdrawn from them, That is, from the three disciples, Peter, James, and John, whom he took along with him, leaving the rest at some further distance; and from these he removed,  about a stone’s cast; fifty, or sixty feet(1) from the place where they were:

and kneeled down and prayed; the following prayer.

Fifty to sixty is between 15.24 to 18.288 meters

Having noticed that Jesus distanced himself from the disciples and remained in solitude praying (where he could not be heard) taking breaks to check on his disciples only to find them fallen asleep.

Matthew 26
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!”

Mark 14
37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. 41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping a:? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Luke 22
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

In conclusion, as the disciples were distanced away from Jesus and since they were constantly falling asleep, the question we ask again is who heard Jesus’ prayer and how were they recorded into the Bible? Interestingly the Gospel according to John does not mention specifically what took place in the prayer and simply states the following:

John 18
18 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

6 comments

  • Isn’t in interesting? God in the bible will answer the Prayer of Jonah(of whom biblically is a much lesser prophet then Jesus) to survive the inside of a whale for 3 day’s, which is more difficult that surviving a crucifixion, yet does not answer to the prayer of Jesus?

    When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the bible, in the second temptation, the devil asks Jesus to jump off a cliff(which is instant death) but he doesn’t have too because he knows that God would save him from instant death. So Jesus is confident that God would save him from the instant death of falling (way more deadly that crucifixion), and God will answer the prayer of a lesser prophet(Biblically) to survive a more dangerous situation that crucifixion, yet, God didn’t do anything to save Jesus? It makes no sense.

  • The fact that this incident is recorded independently by 4 different authors, in 4 different areas, written at different times, makes your conclusion hard to believe.

    Jesus’ recorded prayer is short and repetative, as all the accounts show. If I sit 15 metres from a friend, at night, in the quiet, it is not difficult to appreciate that the discples heard this prayer prior to falling asleep.

  • Dear Mark,

    I hardly believe that you would be hearing someone praying at least 15 meters away … it would be pointless for Jesus to seperate himself that far if he wanted to be heard.

    secondly, even if the four historical unreliable and anonymous authors did write about Jesus’ prayer, some added and other’s removed details for instance in the Gospel according to Luke Jesus cried blood how could the disciples in the midst of the darkness while being asked to stay on gaurd and falling asleep see the blood drops falling ?

    Thank you for your comment.
    Regards,

  • “If I sit 15 metres from a friend, at night, in the quiet, it is not difficult to appreciate that the discples heard this prayer prior to falling asleep.”

    quote:

    35: And going a little farther, he 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 to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.” 37: And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter,

    “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38: Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39: And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40: And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer him. 41: And he came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42: Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

    marks gospel reveals that jesus’ deciples have weak faith, bad memory and they need explanation, in private , about public teachings. after verse 42 the deciples flee like cowards.
    these guys are completely nackard and they “did not know what to answer him” because their brains were switched off. every time jesus returns he finds them sleeping.

  • “The fact that this incident is recorded independently by 4 different authors, in 4 different areas, written at different times, makes your conclusion hard to believe.”

    when scholars juxtapose the accounts side by side, they can see that the authours are using anothers vocabulary and sequence of events. this is evident to them when they look at the greek.

  • “If I sit 15 metres from a friend, at night, in the quiet, it is not difficult to appreciate that the discples heard this prayer prior to falling asleep.”

    did jesus use a megaphone while making his prayer? if jesus told his deciples to go in a room and make prayer in secret,what makes you think he would have spoken his prayer to his god in a loud voice?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s