The Epilogue

13. Passion and Resurrection of Jesus, 26:1-28:20

iii] Gethsemane


The Passover meal is ended and Jesus and his disciples head for a garden outside of Jerusalem called Gethsemane. On the way, Jesus speaks of his coming death and resurrection and of the scattering of his flock. At the garden, Jesus enters into a time of deeply emotional prayer, supported by three of his closest disciples. Jesus concludes this time as the betrayer shows his hand.


In accord with the divine will the Good Shepherd takes upon himself the curse of the Law.


i] Context: See 26:1-16.


ii] Structure: Gethsemane:

A stroll across the Kidron valley, v31-35:

Bad news; good news, v31-32;

"This very night you will all fall away on account of me."

"After I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."

The sheep affirm their loyalty, v33-35;

"Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."

"This very night .... you will disown me three times."

A time of prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, v36-46:

Jesus calls his disciples to prayer, v36-38;

"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow

to the point of death."

Jesus' threefold supplication, v39-44;

"May this cup be taken from me.

Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Judas breaks up the party, v45-46.


iii] Interpretation:

The meal now completed, Jesus and his disciples head off across the Kidron valley toward the Mount of Olives. On the way Jesus tells his disciples what is about to happen in the words of Zechariah 13:7. He, the shepherd of the sheep, is about to be struck down and his sheep scattered, v31. Jesus goes on to tell the disciples not to worry because after he is risen he will go before them into Galilee. These words are probably to be taken literally, although Jesus may be making the point that after he rises from the dead, when the disciples return to Galilee, he will take up his shepherding role again.

The idea that the disciples will scatter when the shepherd is struck down prompts Peter to declare that even if everyone else stumbles, he will remain true. Jesus then gives Peter the sad news that this very night he will deny his Lord three times, v34. Peter strongly renounces the possibility, and the other disciples similarly affirm their loyalty, v35.

Having crossed the Kidron ravine east of Jerusalem, the party heads for a garden called Gethsemane (the word means "oil press", so probably an enclosed olive grove). With Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James and John), Jesus heads off for a time of prayer. In this time of prayer Jesus is "plunged into agonizing sorrow", Peterson, v38. Luke describes Jesus condition as one of "agony of mind." "As his sweat dripped on the ground, it was like drops of blood", Barclay, Lk.22:44. As the minutes turned to hours, Jesus' companions in prayer nodd off; "Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?" On returning after his second secession of prayer, Jesus left them sleeping and returned again for a third session of prayer.

The content of Jesus prayer to the Father is profound. Jesus asks that to pothrion touto, "this cup", parelqatw, "may pass", apo, "from" him. Jesus is drawing on Old Testament imagery when he uses the word "cup"; it is the cup of suffering and judgment, cf., Isa.51:17. Jesus is not just reflecting on the pain of crucifixion, he has in mind the suffering of a sacrificial lamb for the sins of the world. He who knew no sin is about to be washed in the sinfulness of humanity, and in this process, face its divine consequence, judgment. Jesus' cry from the cross, "Why hast thou forsaken me", probably best reflects the horror of Jesus' experience.

In the first session of prayer Jesus' request is very human, the idea possibly coming from the Tempter himself. Satan has already suggested to Jesus that he can complete his mission by teaming up with the one who has the whole world in his hand, 4:8-9. Yet, the defining fact for Jesus is the divine will; "Let they will be done", Rieu, v39, 42. In the second session of prayer Jesus' words reflect his acceptance of the divine will.

After the third session Jesus returns to his disciples who are still sleeping and announces the "wJra", "hour", has come - the appointed hour for the glorification of the Son of Man through suffering and death, v45. And to this end comes the betrayer, Judas, v46.


iv] Synoptics

The first part of the passage aligns with Mark 14:26-31. Markan priority is argued by most scholars, with differences put down to the stylistic preferences of both authors. The separate use of a common oral tradition should not be discounted. D&A suggest that the prior oral source seems to have developed around two prophecies, the falling away of the disciples and the denial of Peter, both in the context of the Last Supper. They suggest that Mark added the prophetic text from Zechariah and also the promise of Jesus' resurrection.

The second part of the passage aligns with Mark 14:32-42 with some minor agreements with Luke 22:40-46. Markan priority is again argued by most scholars.

Text - 26:31

Gethsemane, v31-46. i] A stroll across the Kidron valley, v31-35. a) The bad news and the good news, v31-32. In accord with Zechariah 13:7, Jesus predicts that the disciples are about to fail a test of faith.

tote adv. "then" - This temporal adverb is primarily transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

autoiV dat. pro. "[Jesus told] them" - [jesus says] to them. Dative of indirect object.

en + dat. "[this very] night" - [you all will be offended in me] in [this night]. Temporal use of the preposition, expressing a period of time; "You will all take offense at me and fall away during this night", Cassirer. Note that "you all" is emphatic by position.

skandalisqhsesqe (skandalizw) fut. pas. "you will [all] fall away" - will be tripped up and so fall into sin, offended, fall away, repelled. The word is used to express the disciples being "scandalized" by Jesus and so denying him; "To be repelled by someone", BDAG. Rieu probably gets to the heart of it with "This very night you will all renounce your faith in me", although the TEV is a touch kinder with "run away and leave."

en + dat. "on account of [me]" - in [me]. Causal use of the preposition; "because of me."

thV poimnhV (h) "[the sheep] of the flock" - [for it has been written i will strike the shepherd and the sheep] of the flock [will be scattered]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, "the sheep belonging to the flock", possibly partitive, even epexegetic, "the sheep of his flock", Rieu. Of course, it may just be stylistic; note how mark just has "the sheep", Mk.14:27; "the flock will be scattered."


Jesus has already predicted that he will rise again and here restates this fact to reinforce the point that the striking down of the shepherd is not the end of the story. Jesus' going before the disciples may be intended as an allusion to the shepherding role of Jesus, but is more likely a factual statement; "the return to Galilee symbolizes a fresh beginning", Nolland - the mission to the ends of the earth begins where Jesus' ministry began.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrasting point. Mark has alla.

meta + art. inf. "after [I have risen]" - after [the to be raised up me i will go before you into galilee]. The preposition meta + the articular infinitive serves to express antecedent time; "after I am raised up", ESV, drawing out the passive sense, or simply, "After I have risen", Barclay.


b) The sheep affirm their loyalty, v33-35. As is often the case, Peter comes to the fore in the story line. He answers for all the disciples when he proclaims that Jesus' words may apply to others, but not to him.

apokriqeiV (apokrinomai) aor. part. "[Peter] replied" - [but/and peter] answering [said to him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say", typical Semitic form; redundant.

ei + ind. "even if" - if, as is the case, [all = everyone will be offended in you then i never will be offended]. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the proposed condition is assumed to be true.

en + dat. "on account of [you]" - in [you]. Here the preposition is causal, "because of you."


Jesus' reply is sharp and to the point, not only will Peter desert Jesus, he will actually deny him. Note 10:33, which presumably refers to an ongoing denial of Christ rather than a momentary lapse.

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - [jesus said] to him. Dative of indirect object.

amhn legw soi "truly I tell you" - amen i say to you. A statement used by Jesus to introduce an important truth; "I assure you", Rieu.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of direct speech.

en + dat. "-" - in [this night]. Temporal use of the preposition; "during this night." "Tonight", TEV.

prin + inf. "before" - before [a cock, rooster, to shout out = crow three times you will deny me]. Temporal construction expressing subsequent time, as NIV. Note that Mark has a double crowing, a feature of his gospel that has prompted some debate! It is usually held that Mark's second crowing is a product of textual corruption, a fact evident by the many textual variants at this point in the Markan text. Still, why would anyone even mistakenly put in a second crowing? See Wenham, NTS 25. Note also the suggestion that the "cock crow" is a common term used for the sounding of the dawn bugle in a military camp.


"Peter, crowing like a proud cock, rebuts Jesus." "The choir of disciples shows Peter not alone in his delusion", D&A. A little harsh boys - there is a bit of Peter in every one of us!

kan + subj. "even if" - [peter says to him] even if, as may be the case [me to dies is necessary with you then no no will i deny you]. Introducing a conditional clause 3rd. class where the condition has the possibility of coming true. The crasis, kai + an, is ascensive, as NIV. "I will never say that even if I have to die with you", TEV.

apoqanein (apoqnhskw) aor. inf. "to die" - [me] to die [is necessary]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the impersonal verb "it is necessary." The accusative subject of the infinitive is me, "me".

sun + dat. "with [you]" - Expressing association / accompaniment.

ou mh + fut. "[I will] never [disown you]" - no no = by no means, in no way [will i deny, renounce you]. A subjunctive of emphatic negation formed with a future tense rather than a subjunctive.

oJmoiwV adv. "the same" - likewise, in similar manner, [and = also all the disciples spoke]. Comparative adverb. "All the disciples made the same protest", Phillips.


ii] A time of prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, v36-46: a) Jesus calls his disciples to prayer, v36-38; The traditional site on the western slope of the Mount of Olives certainly fits the description of what is presumably a walled olive grove known as Gethsemane, "the oil press." Jesus leaves the main party for prayer, but takes those closest to him to be near at hand as he wrestles with the Father in prayer. The description "suggests a strong need for human companionship", France.

legomenon (legw) pres. mid./pas. part. "called [Gethsemane]" - [then jesus comes with them into a place] being called [gethsemane]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "place", "a place which is called Gethsemane."

toiV maqhtaiV (hV ou) dat. "[he said] to them" - [and he says] to the disciples. Dative of indirect object.

eJwV + gen. + subj. "while" - [sit here] until = while [whom, having left there i may pray]. This temporal construction usually expresses time up to, "until", but here it seems to express contemporaneous time, "while". The genitive ou|, "who", is a variant reading.

apelqwn (ercomai) aor. part. "I go over [there]" - having left. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the subjunctive verb "to pray"; "while I go ... and pray." "Sit down here, while I go yonder and pray", Berkeley.


The inner circle of disciples, Peter, James and John, those who witnessed Jesus' transfiguration, also the raising of Jairus' daughter, Mk.5:37, now witness Jesus at prayer - and sleep through most of it! Matthew's "sorrowful and troubled" is weaker than Mark's description which suggests amazement and terror.

paralabwn (paralambanw) aor. part. "he took" - [and] having taken [peter and the two sons of zebedee]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to begin", "he took ..... and began to be ....."

lupeisqai (lupew) pres. mid./pas. inf. "[he began] to be sorrowful [and troubled]" - [he began] to be grieved, sorrowful, [ and to be heavy = greatly distressed, troubled]. As for "to be troubled", the infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to begin." The distress is of the mind, so "agony of mind", Phillips, "anguish", TEV.


Using the language of piety (eg., Ps.42-43), Jesus describes the intensity of his sorrow with the phrase "unto death"; such expresses its depth, not his wish to die. The disciples are to "keep watch." It seems unlikely that this is a keeping watch for intruders, but more likely and a keeping watch in eschatological terms - "a readiness for what is coming in the Passion. .... One who is alert to the will of God as Jesus was would stand with Jesus as he went to his death", Nolland.

tote "then" - Temporal adverb, used for temporal transition in the narrative.

eJwV + gen. "to the point of [death]" - [he says to them, the soul of me is very sorrowful] until [death]. Here as a preposition expressing degree up to the highest limit, so "to, to the point of, up to, up to the point of". Not really, "I feel so sad I wish I could die", but "The grief I feel is crushing me." "My heart is ready to break with grief", REB.

met (meta) + gen. "[keep watch] with [me]" - [remain here and keep alert, watch, stay awake] with [me]. Expressing association / accompaniment. "Wait here and share my vigil", Barclay.


b) Jesus' threefold supplication, v39-44. According to Luke, Jesus moves a stones' throw from his three disciples. Jesus then prostrates himself ("fell on his face"), intimately addressing his heavenly Father, seeking the "possible" (something within the will of God). Jesus shrinks from the "cup" that he is about to drink from, cf., Ps.11:6, Isa.51:17, Ezk.23:33. TEV has "the cup of suffering", but Cranfield argues strongly that it is the "cup of God's wrath against sin." "The request that what is approaching might pass from Him is not fear of a dark fate, nor cringing before physical suffering and death, but the horror of One who lives by God as being cast from Him at the judgment which delivers up the Holy one to the power of sin ........ the approaching passion is not fate but judgment", Goppelt, TDNT, VI, p.153.

proelqwn (proercomai) aor. part. "going" - [and] having gone toward [a little he fell]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to fall." "Jesus walked on a little way and then fell face down in prayer."

epi + acc. "[his face] to the ground" - upon [the face of him]. Spacial; "upon". Jesus prostrates himself in prayer.

proseucomenoV (prosucomai) pres. part. "and prayed" - praying [and saying]. As with "saying", the participle is best viewed as adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of Jesus' act of prostrating himself; "Jesus prostrated himself on the ground praying." The participle "saying" is redundant.

ei + ind. "if" - [father of me,] if, as is the case [it is able, possible, then let the cup pass by from me]. Introducing a conditional clause 1st. class where the proposed condition is assumed to be true. "My Father, if it be possible, may this cup of misery pass me by", Cassirer.

ap (apo) + gen. "from [me]" - Expressing separation, "away from."

plhn "yet" - nevertheless. Introducing a qualification, "none-the-less." Note the possible sense "let me escape suffering on the condition that the will of God may still be accomplished", Thrall.

wJV "as" - [not] as [i will]. Rare use of this conjunction where, with the verb "I will", it forms a substantive, subject of an assumed verb; "not as I would have it happen, but as you would have it happen." Mark has ti, so TEV, "not what I want, but what you want."

all (alla) "but" - but [as you will]. Strong adversative used in a counterpoint construction; "not ...., but ....."


"Jesus' earnest prayer contrasts with the failure of even his closest supporters to stay awake in his support", France.

ercetai (ercomai) pres. "then he returns" - [and] he comes [toward the disciples]. Narrative / historic presents, "comes", "finds" and "says", used for dramatic impact.

kaqeudontaV (kaqeudw) pres. part. "sleeping" - [and he finds them] sleeping. The participle serves as the accusative complement of the direct object "them" in a double accusative construction.

ouJtwV adv. "-" - [and he says to peter] therefore. Inferential; serving to introduce a question drawing on a logical conclusion from the proceeding action, namely, Jesus finding the disciples asleep. The inference prompts the question; "When Jesus came back he found them sound asleep, and so he said to them (Peter), 'You blokes could have stuck it out (pl.)with me for a least an hour, couldn't you?'"

ouk "[could]n't [you men]" - not [were you strong, able]. This negation is used in a question expecting an affirmative answer, as above. So the answer would be, "Of course we could have stuck it out; I think we just had too much to eat." Here it is often viewed as an irregular use of the negation expecting a negative answer; "Couldn't you stick it out (pl.) with me for just one hour?" Answer: "No, we're too tired!" Gundry, commenting on the Markan parallel, suggests that we have an exclamatory statement here, rather than a question; "What! So you blokes can't even stay awake and keep watch with me for just one hour!"

grhgorhsai (grhgorew) aor. inf. "keep watch" - to be alert, awake. Complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the verb "to be strong, able."

wJran (a) acc. "for [one] hour" - [one] hour [with me]. The accusative "one hour" is adverbial, modifying the complementary construction "able to be awake", so as NIV, "for one hour." Emphatic by position.

tw/ Petrw/ dat. "[he asked] Peter" - [he says] to peter. Dative of indirect object.


The forces of darkness are engulfing the messianic community. One member has already succumbed, and the others must now face their time of testing. To this end they must be spiritually alert ("watch" = "spiritual preparedness", Hagner) and seek divine support in prayer, because, although their intentions ("spirit" = "the desires of the inner self", France) are strong, their resilience ("flesh" = "human weakness", France) is weak - as they will soon discover.

iJna mh + subj. "so that [you will] not [fall]" - [watch, stay awake, be alert, and pray] that not = lest [you enter into temptation]. Serving to introduce a negated purpose clause. D&A suggest that the purpose clause applies to both "watch" and "pray", but it seems more likely that a state of watchfulness / "spiritual preparedness", Hagner, is the product of prayerfulness. If this is the case then kai is epexegetic such that "pray lest ..." specifies the nature of watchfulness / spiritual preparedness. An attention to prayer prepares a disciple for an engagement with the powers of darkness - prayer reinforces spiritual preparedness.

men .... de ".... but .." - on the one hand, [the spirit is willing, ready, prepared] but on the other hand [the flesh is weak]. Forming an adversative comparative construction.


Mark's account of Jesus' second prayer is much the same as the first, but in Matthew, Jesus' second prayer expresses a state of resignation such that he does not pray to be spared the ordeal, but that God's will may be done - virtually as the Lord's prayer, "not as I will but as you."

apelqwn (apercomai) aor. part. "he went away" - having gone away. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to pray"; "Jesus went away and prayed", TEV.

ek + gen. "-" - [again] from [a second time having gone away, he prayed]. Temporal use of the preposition; "for a second time", NRSV.

ei + ind. "if" - if, as is the case, [this to pass by is not possible ..... then let be done the will of you]. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the proposed condition is assumed to be true. The 1st. class condition serves as "a clear indication that this is in fact the Father's will", Morris.

parelqein (parercomai) aor. inf. "to be taken away" - to pass by. The infinitive serves as the subject of the negated impersonal verb "it is not possible", with the accusative subject of the infinitive being touto, "this".

ean mh + subj. "unless [I drink it]" - if not = except [i drink it]. Although often treated as a second protasis for the conditional clause, "unless", as NIV, it likely serves as an exceptive clause, establishing a contrast by designating an exception, "except"; "My Father, should it be impossible for this cup to pass me by without my drinking it, it is your will that is to be accomplished", Cassirer, so also Rieu, Berkeley. The CEV gets to the sense of the clause; "My Father, if there is no other way, and I must suffer, I will still do what you want."


France suggests that the disciples are "sleeping from grief"; this is a nice thought, but maybe they ate and drank too much at the Passover meal - we all know how that feels!

elqwn (ercomai) aor. part. "when he came back" - [and] having come [again]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV; "And when he returned", Moffatt.

kaqeudontaV (kaqeudw) pres. part. "[found them] sleeping" - The participle serves as the accusative complement of the direct object "them", asserting a fact about the object, namely, that the disciples are sleeping on the job.

gar "because" - Causal, here serving to introduce a causal clause.

hsan ..... bebarhmenoi) perf. mid./pas. part. "[their eyes] were heavy" - [the eyes of them] were having been weighed down. The imperfect verb to-be + the perfect participle forms a periphrastic pluperfect construction, possibly emphasizing durative aspect; "they could not keep their eyes open", Barclay.


Only Matthew states that Jesus prayed a third time reaffirming his submission to the Father's will, although Mark implies it.

kai "so" - and. A consecutive sense is possible here, "so as a result ....", as NIV.

afeiV (afihmi) aor. part. "he left [them]" - having left [them again, having gone away, he prayed]. As with "having gone away", attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to pray"; "So, he left them again, went away, and prayed" = "He left them and prayed", CEV.

ek + gen. "[the third time]" - from [third]. Temporal use of the preposition serving to introduce a temporal phrase; "for the third time."

eipwn (legw) aor. part. "saying" - having said [again the same word]. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his prayer, "he prayed .... using the same words"; "uttering again the same prayer", Berkeley.


c) Judas breaks up the party, v45-46. On returning, Jesus finds the disciples still asleep. His comment, at face value, allows the disciples to continue in sleep, but most commentators think it is at least ironical, if not facetious. The time had come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinful humanity.

tote adv. "then" - Transitional use of this temporal adverb. This, with the historic / narrative present verbs "he comes" and "he says", serves to highlight this step in the narrative.

autoiV dat. pro. "to them" - [he comes toward the disciples and says] to them. Dative of indirect object.

kaqeudete (kaqeudw) pres. ind. / imp. "are you sleeping [and resting]?" - sleep [and rest]. It is unclear whether these verbs are indicative or imperative. Olmstead suggests it is likely that they are indicative. It is also unclear whether we have a question or a statement, ether way as Olmstead says "both probably 'form a mild rebuke'", ref., BDAG, 602.3. So, a rebuke / sarcastic question, as NIV, Barclay, CEV, Berkeley, Moffatt, .... "You blokes having a nice sleep are you?"

aJmartwlwn (oV) gen. "[the hands] of sinners" - [behold the hour draws near and the son of man is being betrayed into the hands] of sinners. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, although Quarles classifies it as partitive. For "Son of Man" see 8:20. Note also the passive "handed over"; D&A suggest it is a divine passive, God does the handing over "into the hands of men given over to sin", Cassirer.


agwmen (agw) pres. subj. "let us go" - [rise up] let us go. Hortatory subjunctive.

oJ paradidouV (paradidwmi) pres. part. "[my] betrayer" - [behold] the one handing over, betraying, [me draws near]. The participle serves as a substantive.


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