Matthew 26:36
Then comes Jesus with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, Sit you here, while I go and pray yonder.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Matthew

GETHSEMANE, THE OIL-PRESS

Matthew 26:36 - Matthew 26:46
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One shrinks from touching this incomparable picture of unexampled sorrow, for fear lest one’s finger-marks should stain it. There is no place here for picturesque description, which tries to mend the gospel stories by dressing them in to-day’s fashions, nor for theological systematisers and analysers of the sort that would ‘botanise upon their mother’s grave.’ We must put off our shoes, and feel that we stand on holy ground. Though loving eyes saw something of Christ’s agony, He did not let them come beside Him, but withdrew into the shadow of the gnarled olives, as if even the moonbeams must not look too closely on the mystery of such grief. We may go as near as love was allowed to go, but stop where it was stayed, while we reverently and adoringly listen to what the Evangelist tells us of that unspeakable hour.

I. Mark the ‘exceeding sorrow’ of the Man of Sorrows.

Somewhere on the western foot of Olivet lay the garden, named from an oil-press formerly or then in it, which was to be the scene of the holiest and sorest sorrow on which the moon, that has seen so much misery, has ever looked. Truly it was ‘an oil-press,’ in which ‘the good olive’ was crushed by the grip of unparalleled agony, and yielded precious oil, which has been poured into many a wound since then. Eight of the eleven are left at or near the entrance, while He passes deeper into the shadows with the three. They had been witnesses of His prayers once before, on the slopes of Hermon, when He was transfigured before them. They are now to see a no less wonderful revelation of His glory in His filial submission. There is something remarkable in Matthew’s expression, ‘He began to be sorrowful,’-as if a sudden wave of emotion, breaking over His soul, had swept His human sensibilities before it. The strange word translated by the Revisers ‘sore troubled’ is of uncertain derivation, and may possibly be simply intended to intensify the idea of sorrow; but more probably it adds another element, which Bishop Lightfoot describes as ‘the confused, restless, half-distracted state which is produced by physical derangement or mental distress.’ A storm of agitation and bewilderment broke His calm, and forced from His patient lips, little wont to speak of His own emotions, or to seek for sympathy, the unutterably pathetic cry, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful’-compassed about with sorrow, as the word means-’even unto death.’ No feeble explanation of these words does justice to the abyss of woe into which they let us dimly look. They tell the fact, that, a little more and the body would have sunk under the burden. He knew the limits of human endurance, for ‘all things were made by Him,’ and, knowing it, He saw that He had grazed the very edge. Out of the darkness He reaches a hand to feel for the grasp of a friend, and piteously asks these humble lovers to stay beside Him, not that they could help Him to bear the weight, but that their presence had some solace in it. His agony must be endured alone, therefore He bade them tarry there; but He desired to have them at hand, therefore He went but ‘a little forward.’ They could not bear it with Him, but they could ‘watch with’ Him, and that poor comfort is all He asks. No word came from them. They were, no doubt, awed into silence, as the truest sympathy is used to be, in the presence of a great grief. Is it permitted us to ask what were the fountains of these bitter floods that swept over Christ’s sinless soul? Was the mere physical shrinking from death all? If so, we may reverently say that many a maiden and old man, who drew all their fortitude from Jesus, have gone to stake or gibbet for His sake, with a calm which contrasts strangely with His agitation. Gethsemane is robbed of its pathos and nobleness if that be all. But it was not all. Rather it was the least bitter of the components of the cup. What lay before Him was not merely death, but the death which was to atone for a world’s sin, and in which, therefore, the whole weight of sin’s consequences was concentrated. ‘The Lord hath made to meet on Him the iniquities of us all’; that is the one sufficient explanation of this infinitely solemn and tender scene. Unless we believe that, we shall find it hard to reconcile His agitation in Gethsemane with the perfection of His character as the captain of ‘the noble army of martyrs.’

II. Note the prayer of filial submission.

Matthew does not tell us of the sweat falling audibly and heavily, and sounding to the three like slow blood-drops from a wound, nor of the strengthening angel, but he gives us the prostrate form, and the threefold prayer, renewed as each moment of calm, won by it, was again broken in upon by a fresh wave of emotion. Thrice He had to leave the disciples, and came back, a calm conqueror; and twice the enemy rallied and returned to the assault, and was at last driven finally from the field by the power of prayer and submission. The three Synoptics differ in their report of our Lord’s words, but all mean the same thing in substance; and it is obvious that much more must have been spoken than they report. Possibly what we have is only the fragments that reached the three before they fell asleep. In any case, Jesus was absent from them on each occasion long enough to allow of their doing so.

Three elements are distinguishable in our Lord’s prayer. There is, first, the sense of Sonship, which underlies all, and was never more clear than at that awful moment. Then there is the recoil from ‘the cup,’ which natural instinct could not but feel, though sinlessly. The flesh shrank from the Cross, which else had been no suffering; and if no suffering, then had been no atonement. His manhood would not have been like ours, nor His sorrows our pattern, if He had not thus drawn back, in His sensitive humanity, from the awful prospect now so near. But natural instinct is one thing, and the controlling will another. However currents may have tossed the vessel, the firm hand at the helm never suffered them to change her course. The will, which in this prayer He seems so strangely to separate from the Father’s, even in the act of submission, was the will which wishes, not that which resolves. His fixed purpose to die for the world’s sin never wavered. The shrinking does not reach the point of absolutely and unconditionally asking that the cup might pass. Even in the act of uttering the wish, it is limited by that ‘if it be possible,’ which can only mean-possible, in view of the great purpose for which He came. That is to be accomplished, at any cost; and unless it can be accomplished though the cup be withdrawn, He does not even wish, much less will, that it should be withdrawn. So, the third element in the prayer is the utter resignation to the Father’s will, in which submission He found peace, as we do.

He prayed His way to perfect calm, which is ever the companion of perfect self-surrender to God. They who cease from their own works do ‘enter into rest.’ All the agitations which had come storming in massed battalions against Him are defeated by it. They have failed to shake His purpose, they now fail even to disturb His peace. So, victorious from the dreadful conflict, and at leisure of heart to care for others, He can go back to the disciples. But even whilst seeking to help them, a fresh wave of suffering breaks in on His calm, and once again He leaves them to renew the struggle. The instinctive shrinking reasserts itself, and, though overcome, is not eradicated. But the second prayer is yet more rooted in acquiescence than the first. It shows that He had not lost what He had won by the former; for it, as it were, builds on that first supplication, and accepts as answer to its contingent petition the consciousness, accompanying the calm, that it was not possible for the cup to pass from Him. The sense of Sonship underlies the complete resignation of the second prayer as of the first. It has no wish but God’s will, and is the voluntary offering of Himself. Here He is both Priest and Sacrifice, and offers the victim with this prayer of consecration. So once more He triumphs, because once more, and yet more completely, He submits, and accepts the Cross. For Him, as for us, the Cross accepted ceases to be a pain, and the cup is no more bitter when we are content to drink it. Once more in fainter fashion the enemy came on, casting again his spent arrows, and beaten back by the same weapon. The words were the same, because no others could have expressed more perfectly the submission which was the heart of His prayers and the condition of His victory.

Christ’s prayer, then, was not for the passing of the cup, but that the will of God might be done in and by Him, and ‘He was heard in that He feared,’ not by being exempted from the Cross, but by being strengthened through submission for submission. So His agony is the pattern of all true prayer, which must ever deal with our wishes, as He did with His instinctive shrinking,-present them wrapped in an ‘if it be possible,’ and followed by a ‘nevertheless.’ The meaning of prayer is not to force our wills on God’s, but to bend our wills to His; and that prayer is really answered of which the issue is our calm readiness for all that He lays upon us.

III. Note the sad and gentle remonstrance with the drowsy three.

‘The sleep of the disciples, and of these disciples, and of all three, and such an overpowering sleep, remains even after Luke’s explanation, “for sorrow,” a psychological riddle’ {Meyer}. It is singularly parallel with the sleep of the same three at the Transfiguration-an event which presents the opposite pole of our Lord’s experiences, and yields so many antithetical parallels to Gethsemane. No doubt the tension of emotion, which had lasted for many hours, had worn them out; but, if weariness had weighed down their eyelids, love should have kept them open. Such sleep of such disciples may have been a riddle, but it was also a crime, and augured imperfect sympathy. Gentle surprise and the pain of disappointed love are audible in the question, addressed to Peter especially, as he had promised so much, but meant for all. This was all that Jesus got in answer to His yearning for sympathy. ‘I looked for some to take pity, but there was none.’ Those who loved Him most lay curled in dead slumber within earshot of His prayers. If ever a soul tasted the desolation of utter loneliness, that suppliant beneath the olives tasted it. But how little of the pain escapes His lips! The words but hint at the slightness of their task compared with His, at the brevity of the strain on their love, and at the companionship which ought to have made sleep impossible. May we not see in Christ’s remonstrance a word for all? For us, too, the task of keeping awake in the enchanted ground is light, measured against His, and the time is short, and we have Him to keep us company in the watch, and every motive of grateful love should make it easy; but, alas, how many of us sleep a drugged and heavy slumber!

The gentle remonstrance soon passes over into counsel as gentle. Watchfulness and prayer are inseparable. The one discerns dangers, the other arms against them. Watchfulness keeps us prayerful, and prayerfulness keeps us watchful. To watch without praying is presumption, to pray without watching is hypocrisy. The eye that sees clearly the facts of life will turn upwards from its scanning of the snares and traps, and will not look in vain. These two are the indispensable conditions of victorious encountering of temptation. Fortified by them, we shall not ‘enter into’ it, though we encounter it. The outward trial will remain, but its power to lead us astray will vanish. It will still be danger or sorrow, but it will not be temptation; and we shall pass through it, as a sunbeam through foul air, untainted, and keeping heaven’s radiance. That is a lesson for a wider circle than the sleepy three.

It is followed by words which would need a volume to expound in all their depth and width of application, but which are primarily a reason for the preceding counsel, as well as a loving apology for the disciples’ sleep. Christ is always glad to give us credit for even imperfect good; His eye, which sees deeper than ours, sees more lovingly, and is not hindered from marking the willing spirit by recognising weak flesh. But these words are not to be made a pillow for indolent acquiescence in the limitations which the flesh imposes on the spirit. He may take merciful count of these, and so may we, in judging others, but it is fatal to plead them at the bar of our own consciences. Rather they should be a spur to our watchfulness and to our prayer. We need these because the flesh is weak, still more because, in its weakness toward good, it is strong to evil. Such exercise will give governing power to the spirit, and enable it to impose its will on the reluctant flesh. If we watch and pray, the conflict between these two elements in the renewed nature will tend to unity and peace by the supremacy of the spirit; if we do not, it will tend to cease by the unquestioned tyranny of the flesh. In one or other direction our lives are tending.

Strange that such words had no effect. But so it was, and so deep was the apostles’ sleep that Christ left them undisturbed the second time. The relapse is worse than the original disease. Sleep broken and resumed is more torpid and fatal than if it had not been interrupted. We do not know how long it lasted, though the whole period in the garden must have been measured by hours; but at last it was broken by the enigmatical last words of our Lord. The explanation of the direct opposition between the consecutive sentences, by taking the ‘Sleep on now’ as ironical, jars on one’s reverence. Surely irony is out of keeping with the spirit of Christ then. Rather He bids them sleep on, since the hour is come, in sad recognition that the need for their watchful sympathy is past, and with it the opportunity for their proved affection. It is said with a tone of contemplative melancholy, and is almost equivalent to ‘too late, too late.’ The memorable sermon of F. W. Robertson, on this text, rightly grasps the spirit of the first clause, when it dwells with such power on the thought of ‘the irrevocable past’ of wasted opportunities and neglected duty. But the sudden transition to the sharp, short command and broken sentences of the last verse is to be accounted for by the sudden appearance of the flashing lights of the band led by Judas, somewhere near at hand, in the valley. The mood of pensive reflection gives place to rapid decision. He summons them to arise, not for flight, but that He may go out to meet the traitor. Escape would have been easy. There was time to reach some sheltering fold of the hill in the darkness; but the prayer beneath the silver-grey olives had not been in vain, and these last words in Gethsemane throb with the Son’s willingness to yield Himself up, and to empty to its dregs the cup which the Father had given Him.Matthew 26:36-38. Then cometh Jesus to a place called Gethsemane — A garden, lying, it seems, at the foot of the mount of Olives, which had its name, probably, from its soil and situation, the word, from גיא שׂמנים, signifying, the valley of fatness. And saith to the disciples, Sit ye here — Probably near the garden door, within, for John says the disciples went into the garden with him: while I go and pray yonder — In a retired place, at a little distance. Doubtless he intended that they should be employed as he was, in watching and prayer. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, James and John, who had been witnesses of his transfiguration and glory, and were now to be witnesses of his humiliation and agony: and began to be sorrowful and very heavy — Gr. Δυπεισθαι και

αδημονειν, to be penetrated with the most exquisite sorrow, and overwhelmed with deep anguish. This was probably from the arrows of the Almighty sticking fast in his soul, while God laid on him the iniquities of us all. Who can tell what painful and dreadful sensations were then impressed on him by the immediate hand of God? Then saith he, My soul is exceeding sorrowful — Gr. Περιλυπος, surrounded with sorrows on every side; even unto death — “This expressions,” says Dr. Campbell, “is rather indefinite, and seems to imply a sorrow that would continue till death; whereas the import of the original is such a sorrow as was sufficient to cause death.” He therefore renders the clause, My soul is overwhelmed with a deadly anguish. Castalio translates it, In tanto sum animi dolore ut emoriar, “I am in such trouble of mind that I shall die.” He evidently meant, that his sorrow was so great that the infirmity of his human nature must immediately sink under it without some extraordinary relief and support; for which he was about to pray, and for which he wished them to pray, adding, Tarry ye here and watch with me — Had these disciples done as Christ here directed, they would soon have found a rich equivalent for their watchful care, in the eminent improvement of their graces by this wonderful and edifying sight. For Christ was now sustaining those grievous sorrows in his soul, by which, as well as by his dying on the cross, he became a sin-offering, and accomplished the redemption of mankind.26:36-46 He who made atonement for the sins of mankind, submitted himself in a garden of suffering, to the will of God, from which man had revolted in a garden of pleasure. Christ took with him into that part of the garden where he suffered his agony, only those who had witnessed his glory in his transfiguration. Those are best prepared to suffer with Christ, who have by faith beheld his glory. The words used denote the most entire dejection, amazement, anguish, and horror of mind; the state of one surrounded with sorrows, overwhelmed with miseries, and almost swallowed up with terror and dismay. He now began to be sorrowful, and never ceased to be so till he said, It is finished. He prayed that, if possible, the cup might pass from him. But he also showed his perfect readiness to bear the load of his sufferings; he was willing to submit to all for our redemption and salvation. According to this example of Christ, we must drink of the bitterest cup which God puts into our hands; though nature struggle, it must submit. It should be more our care to get troubles sanctified, and our hearts satisfied under them, than to get them taken away. It is well for us that our salvation is in the hand of One who neither slumbers nor sleeps. All are tempted, but we should be much afraid of entering into temptation. To be secured from this, we should watch and pray, and continually look unto the Lord to hold us up that we may be safe. Doubtless our Lord had a clear and full view of the sufferings he was to endure, yet he spoke with the greatest calmness till this time. Christ was a Surety, who undertook to be answerable for our sins. Accordingly he was made sin for us, and suffered for our sins, the Just for the unjust; and Scripture ascribes his heaviest sufferings to the hand of God. He had full knowledge of the infinite evil of sin, and of the immense extent of that guilt for which he was to atone; with awful views of the Divine justice and holiness, and the punishment deserved by the sins of men, such as no tongue can express, or mind conceive. At the same time, Christ suffered being tempted; probably horrible thoughts were suggested by Satan that tended to gloom and every dreadful conclusion: these would be the more hard to bear from his perfect holiness. And did the load of imputed guilt so weigh down the soul of Him of whom it is said, He upholdeth all things by the word of his power? into what misery then must those sink whose sins are left upon their own heads! How will those escape who neglect so great salvation?Jesus' agony in Gethsemane - This account is also recorded in Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1.

Matthew 26:36

Then cometh ... - After the institution of the Lord's Supper, in the early part of the night, he went out to the Mount of Olives.

In his journey he passed over the brook Cedron John 18:1, which bounded Jerusalem on the east.

Unto a place - John calls this "a garden." This garden was on the western side of the Mount of Olives, and a short distance from Jerusalem. The word used by John means not properly a garden for the cultivation of vegetables, but a place planted with the olive and other trees, perhaps with a fountain of water, and with walks and groves; a proper place of refreshment in a hot climate, and of retirement from the noise of the adjacent city. Such places were doubtless common in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Messrs. Fisk and King, American missionaries were at the place which is commonly supposed to have been the garden of Gethsemane in 1823. They tell us that the garden is about a stone's cast from the brook of Cedron; that it now contains eight large and venerable-looking olives, whose trunks show their great antiquity. The spot is sandy and barren, and appears like a forsaken place. A low broken wall surrounds it.

Mr. King sat down beneath one of the trees and read Isaiah 53:1-12, and also the gospel history of our Redeemer's sorrow during that memorable night in which he was there betrayed; and the interest of the association was heightened by the passing through the place of a party of Bedouins, armed with spears and swords. A recent traveler says of this place that it "is a field or garden about 50 paces square, with a few shrubs growing in it, and eight olive-trees of great antiquity, the whole enclosed with a stone wall." The place was probably fixed upon, as Dr. Robinson supposes, during the visit of Helena to Jerusalem, 326 a.d., when the places of the crucifixion and resurrection were believed to be identified. There is, however, no absolute certainty respecting the places. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. ii. p. 484) supposes it most probable that the real "Garden of Gethsemane" was several hundred yards to the northwest of the present Gethsemane, in a place much more secluded than the one usually regarded as that where the agony of the Saviour occurred, and therefore more likely to have been the place of his retirement. Nothing, however, that is of importance depends on ascertaining the exact spot.

Luke says that Jesus "went as he was wont" - that is, accustomed - "to the Mount of Olives." Probably he had been in the habit of retiring from Jerusalem to that place for meditation and prayer, thus enforcing by his example what he had so often done by his precepts the duty of retiring from the noise and bustle of the world to hold communion with God.

Gethsemane - This word is made up either of two Hebrew words, signifying "valley of fatness" - that is, a fertile valley; or of two words, signifying "an olive-press," given to it, probably, because the place was filled with olives.

Sit ye here - That is, in one part of the garden to which they first came.

While I go and pray yonder - That is, at the distance of a stone's cast, Luke 22:41. Luke adds that when he came to the garden he charged them to pray that they might not enter into temptation - that is, into deep "trials and afflictions," or, more probably, into scenes and dangers that would tempt them to deny him.

Mt 26:36-46. The Agony in the Garden. ( = Mr 14:32-42; Lu 22:39-46).

For the exposition, see on [1364]Lu 22:39-46.

Mark leaveth out yonder, Mark 14:32. Luke saith, Luke 22:39-41, He came out, and went, as he was wont, to the Mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed. Whether this Gethsemane were the name of a garden, or of a village wherein was a garden, is not much material for us to know. In Jerusalem, they say, they had no gardens, but their gardens were without the gates. Certain it is, it was on the other side of the brook Cedron, John 18:1, and either in or at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Thither Christ went with his disciples, that is, eleven of them; we shall hear of the twelfth by and by. Luke saith, that he bade his disciples pray that they might not enter into temptation: these words Matthew and Mark have, after Christ’s first return to them; they say he now said only,

Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. Then cometh Jesus with them,.... The eleven disciples,

unto a place called Gethsemane; the Syriac version calls it Ghedsiman; the Persic, Ghesmani, so the Arabic; the Vulgate Latin, and the Ethiopic, Gethsemani: in Munster's Hebrew Gospel, and in the Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, it is called a "village"; and in the Ethiopic version, "a village of wine"; and in the Syriac and Persic versions, a place. Here, according to an Ethiopic writer, the Virgin Mary was buried by the apostles (d). Its etymology is very differently given: some read, and explain it, as if it was , "a valley of fatness", or "of olives", as it is called in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; see Isaiah 28:1; others as if it was , "a valley of signs", or a very famous valley; so Mount Sinai is called (e), , "Harsemanai", the mountain of signs: but, to take notice of no more; the true reading and signification of it is,

"an olive press", or a press for olives: so we read (f) of a chamber in the temple which is called "the chamber", , "Beth Semania", or "Bethsemani", where they put their wine and oil for temple service. It is very probable that at, or near this place, was a very public olive press, where they used to squeeze the olives, for the oil of them, which they gathered in great plenty from off the Mount of Olives; at the foot of which this place was; and a very significant place it was for our Lord to go to at this time, when he was about to tread the wine press of his Father's wrath, alone, and of the people there were none with him: for it follows,

and saith unto the disciples, sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder: perceiving a time of distress was coming upon him, he betakes himself to prayer, an example worthy of our imitation; in the performance of which duty he chose to be retired and solitary, and therefore left eight of his disciples at a certain place, whilst he went to another at some distance, convenient for his purpose; who perhaps might be the weakest of the disciples, and not able to bear the agonies and distress of their Lord and Master,

(d) Ludolph. Lex. Ethiop. p. 554. (e) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 89. 1.((f) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 16. 1.

{9} Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

(9) Christ having regard to the weakness of his disciples, leaves all the rest in safety, and takes with him but three to be witnesses of his anguish, and goes on purpose into the place where he would be betrayed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 26:36. Γεθσημανῆ or, according to a still better attested form, Γεθσημανεί (Lachmann, Tischendorf), is most likely the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew גַּת שֶׁמֶן, an oil-press. It was a plot of ground (χωρίον, John 4:5; Acts 1:18; Acts 4:34; Acts 5:3; Acts 28:7), perhaps a small estate with a garden (John 18:1); according to Keim, an olive-yard where nobody lived. If the place was not public property, Jesus, according to John 19:2, must have been on friendly terms with the owner. On the place (the present Dschesmanije), which subsequent tradition has fixed upon as the site of the ancient Gethsemane, see Robinson, Pal. I. p. 389; Tobler, d. Siloahquelle u. d. Oelberg, 1852.

αὐτοῦ] here; the only other instances in the New Testament are found in Acts 15:34; Acts 18:19; Acts 21:4; of frequent occurrence in classical writers.

ἐκεῖ] pointing toward the place.Matthew 26:36-46. The agony (so called from the word ἀγωνία in Luke 22:44, a ἅπαξ λεγ.).36. Gethsemane]=the oil press; “over the brook Cedron, where was a garden” (John).

36–46. The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane

Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1In St Luke’s account Matthew 26:43-44 are peculiar to his Gospel. The use of the rare word “agony” by the same evangelist has given the title to this passage.

St Luke also relates that “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” There is, however, some reason for doubting the genuineness of these verses.Matthew 26:36. Αὐτοῦ, here) (an adverb). Thus the LXX. in Numbers 9:8, Numbers 32:6.—στῆτε αὐτοῦ, κ.τ.λ., “stand ye HERE,” etc.; and Ib. Numbers 32:6.—καὶ ὑμεῖς καθήσεσθε αὐτοῦ; “and shall ye sit HERE?”—ἕως οὐ ἀπελθὼν προσεύξωμαι, whilst I go and pray) Our Lord expresses only that which is less distressing; He maintains a reserve with regard to that which is more painful; cf. Genesis 22:5. In Matthew 26:38 He says—γρηγορεῖτε μετʼ Ἐμοῦ, Watch with Me; in Matthew 26:41.—γρηγορεῖτε καὶ προσεύχεσθε, watch and pray: but He nowhere says, Pray with Me. The disciples could not join (on an equality) with Him in prayer. There is One Son: one Mediator.Verses 36-46. - The agedly of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. (Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1.) Verse 36. - Gethsemane (equivalent to "oil press"). Jesus retired thither for privacy and for prayer in anticipation of what was coming. St. John explains, "Where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples." This so called garden was situated a short distance from the bridge over the Kedron, at the foot of the Mount of Olives. It was a plantation of olives; and there are many of these trees, some of great age, still growing in the neighbourhood. The fanciful idea that some of these witnessed the agony of our Lord has no support whatever. In the first place, olive trees do not live two thousand years; and, secondly, it is certain that in the sieges of Jerusalem all surrounding trees were ruthlessly destroyed; and lastly, the exact site of this terrible scene is unknown, though tradition has fixed upon a certain spot now enclosed with walls, and containing a building known by the name of "The Chapel of the Sweat." The disciples. Eight of them - Judas having long ago departed - and three Jesus took with him deeper into the dim recesses of the wood. Sit ye here. Remain here, at the entrance to the olive yard. These might not behold even the beginning of his desolation. Their present faith and love were not equal to the strain. Go and pray yonder. One is reminded of Abraham at Mount Moriah, when he says to the attendants, "Abide ye here, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (Genesis 22:5). When the Lord says "here" and "yonder," he points to the spots indicated. He always retired to pray, even as he tells his followers to enter into their closets when they put up their supplications to their Father in heaven. Gethsemane

Meaning oil-press. Beyond the brook Kedron, and distant about three-quarters of a mile from the walls of Jerusalem. Dean Stanley says of the olive-trees there: "In spite of all the doubts that can be raised against their antiquity, the eight aged olive-trees, if only by their manifest difference from all others on the mountain, have always struck the most indifferent observers. They will remain, so long as their already protracted life is spared, the most venerable of their race on the surface of the earth. Their gnarled trunks and scanty foliage will always be regarded as the most affecting of the sacred memorials in or about Jerusalem; the most nearly approaching to the everlasting hills themselves in the force with which they carry us back to the events of the gospel history" ("Sinai and Palestine").

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