1 Gethsemane The Scripture Lesson Matthew 26:36-46 After leaving the upper room, Jesus led His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. This was a quiet place, and Jesus had often gone there with His disciples to rest when He was in Jerusalem. Here Jesus can be alone to pray to His Father in heaven. And here Judas will have no trouble finding Him. From Gethsemane Jesus will go to the cross. Do you know what the cross was for Jesus? We might think first of the fact that Jesus will be nailed to two crossed beams and left hanging there till He died. That was terrible. But that was only a small part of what the cross meant for Jesus. On the cross He had to suffer the terrible punishment that all of God s people would otherwise have to suffer forever in hell. All we can say is that that must have been indescribably awful. When Jesus entered Gethsemane, He knew that the hour of this great suffering had at last arrived. The terribleness of it began to beat down upon Him so that He could hardly bear up under it. He left eight of His disciples near the entrance of the garden. Peter, James, and John He took with Him farther into the garden. To them He said, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Yes, so great was the terror of the cross OUR GUIDE is published by the Protestant Reformed Sunday School Association. that it brought Jesus body close to death. Jesus then asked the three disciples to watch with Him, while He went on a bit farther to pray. When He was alone He fell to the ground and prayed, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt. His cup was the cross. So terrible did that cup seem to Jesus that He asked the Father if there could possibly be some other way, not so awful, to redeem His people. Another way, He asks, but one in which He can still be perfectly obedient to His Father. After spending some time in prayer, He returned to His disciples... and found them sleeping. To Peter He said, Could you not watch with me one hour? Peter, willing, as he said, to die for Jesus, was unable even to stay awake for an hour to watch. Again Jesus leaves them and once more prays to His Father. No answer comes from heaven. He then returned to His disciples and found them sleeping again. They could not understand Jesus suffering. They knew of no way to help Him. And in their sorrow they fell asleep. A third time Jesus went, with the same prayer on His lips. This time an angel appeared, to give Him strength to endure. So great was His suffering that He sweat great drops of blood.
2 Jesus knows what the silence from heaven means. There is no other way. The cross alone will gain the salvation of His people. And He submits His desire completely to the will of His Father. He comes back to His disciples a third time, and now He is no longer distressed and troubled. He had gained the victory here in Gethsemane. He is able now to go out boldly and face the enemy, who are already approaching the garden to take Him. The Arrest Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:1-12 When Judas left the upper room he knew that he could never again return to the company of Jesus and His disciples. He was a traitor; and he had been found out. He hurried to the chief priests and told them what had happened. He told them that, somehow, Jesus had learned about their plot. If therefore they wanted to take Jesus, it would have to be this very night. The Jews did not want to let this opportunity slip from their hands, of course, so they right away began to prepare to capture Jesus. First they called out the temple police. That was about 200 men. But the chief priests wanted to make sure that Jesus could not escape. So they went to the captain of the Roman soldiers. He agreed to come along, with probably 200 of his soldiers. So now the chief priests had about 400 men, all armed with swords and staves, and carrying lanterns so that they could find Jesus if He tried to hide in the dark. Surely, they thought, Jesus cannot now escape. Judas knew that Jesus often went with His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane; so this is where he led the band of soldiers and temple police. And, sure enough, there was Jesus, standing with the eleven near the entrance to the garden. Jesus in fact came out to meet them. He asked, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I am he. Then a strange thing happened. All of the men who had come to capture Him fell over backwards. At the mere voice of Jesus they were all helpless. If He had 2 Gethsemane/The Arrest turned and walked away, they could have done nothing to stop Him. Whether they had 40 men or 4,000 did not make any difference. They could not take Jesus unless He let them do it. And Jesus does let them, for His hour has come. He lets them get back up, and He tells them once more that He is Jesus of Nazareth. The captain then gave orders for Jesus to be taken. But when Peter saw these wicked soldiers come to bind Jesus, he pulled out his sword and was going to fight the whole army all by himself. He swung at the nearest enemy and, just barely missing the man s head, he cut off his ear. This may have been a brave thing for Peter to do, but it was not right. It was not right because, in spite of everything that Jesus had said, Peter was still trying to keep Jesus from laying down His life for His people. It was not right either because Peter was rebelling against the men whom God had placed in authority in Israel. He could have gotten himself and Jesus into a lot of trouble for that. But Jesus told him to put away his sword, and then He touched the man's ear and healed it. Jesus then explained to the disciples that He did not need their help. If help really were needed, He could pray to His Father, and more than 12 legions of angels would be given to save Him from trouble. But He must not have help. The disciples could not understand that. What Jesus was saying was that He wanted to be captured by these wicked men. What sense did that make? They all became disappointed in Him, just as He had said they would. And they all forsook Him and fled. Jesus was therefore left alone, and the soldiers came and bound Him and led Him away. MEMORY WORK Group A Mark 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. Group B Matthew 26:39b O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
3 3 ACTIVITIES This paper has been prepared in the hope that it will be used by students of all ages. The activities are designed so that the oldest will be challenged, and the youngest will find some of it within reach. Parents should encourage their children to attempt only what they can handle without frustration. For some that will be much, for others little. DO YOU AGREE? If you do, write Yes; if you do not, write No. 1. Gethsemane was the name of a garden in Jerusalem not far from the upper room. 2. After their celebration of the Passover, Jesus led His disciples to this garden because He figured that no one would look for them there. 3. Because His soul was so filled with terror at the thought of bearing God s wrath against sin on the cross, Jesus prayed in Gethsemane that, if possible, God might let Him save His people in a different way. 4. Because Peter was the only one of the disciples to fall asleep during this awful time in the garden, Jesus asked him, What, could you not watch with me one hour? 5. Judas meanwhile had hurried to the chief priests to urge them to act quickly to capture Jesus before He escaped out of their hand. 6. Though they had before decided not to take Jesus during the Passover celebration, the chief priests were willing to change their plans because of what Judas told them. 7. Afraid that Jesus might manage to escape if they went to get Him with only a small band of men, the chief priests arranged for a multitude of armed men to capture Jesus. 8. To make sure that they did not in the darkness of night seize the wrong man, Judas told the chief priests that he would identify Jesus for them by giving Him a kiss. 9. As soon as Jesus was thus identified, the armed men rushed forward and seized Him. 10. In a vain attempt to prevent Jesus capture, Peter swung his sword and cut off a man s ear. 11. To Peter s great disappointment Jesus used His power, not to defeat the enemy, but to heal the man wounded by Peter s sword. QUESTIONS FOR YOUNGER READERS 1. Throughout His life Jesus often spent long hours in prayer with His Father. Very likely, however, He had never before felt so great a need for prayer as He did on this night. Can you explain why that would be? 2. What words in Jesus prayer show that He remained, throughout this whole terrible ordeal, the perfectly obedient servant of Jehovah? 3. The anguish of Jesus in Gethsemane was a result of His looking forward to the terrible suffering of the cross. Do you remember something that happened in Gethsemane which shows how great was the suffering already in the garden? 4. Jesus found that the three disciples He had taken with Him part way into the garden had fallen asleep in the hour of His great need. Why did Jesus reprove especially Peter? 5. How did Jesus fervent prayers to God in the garden help Him? That is, how was Jesus different after those prayers than He was before? 6. The leaders of the Jews had before decided to wait till after the Passover to take Jesus. What happened, to change their minds? 7. The leaders of the Jews arranged to have probably as many as 400 armed men go out after Jesus. Can you explain why they wanted so many men for the arrest of one man? 8. How did the Jews know where to find Jesus? 9. How did Jesus make it clear in the garden that He could never be taken against His will? If Jesus could have escaped, why did He not do so? 10. What brave thing did Peter do when the enemy moved to arrest his Master? Can you explain why it was wrong for him to do that? What did Jesus do to make matters right? 11. What did Jesus say to the disciples to assure them that He did not need their help? Can you explain why it was that the disciples, after they heard that, forsook Jesus and fled?
4 Gethsemane/The Arrest 4 Lesson 46 COMPLETING SENTENCES 1. After leaving the upper room, Jesus led His disciples outside the city of Jerusalem, over the brook, to the Mount of Olives, where there was a. Jesus had resorted thither with His ; so also, who betrayed him, knew the. In fact, it was exactly in order to make it easy for Judas to find Him that Jesus, in seeking a place for prayer, went now to Gethsemane (John 18:1, 2). 2. On entering the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to His disciples, ye here, while I go and yonder (Matt. 26:36). Of the Eleven, however, He took with Him Peter,, and, and, as He walked with them farther into the garden, He began to be sore, and to be very. The anticipation of the awful wrath of God, as He would soon be made to feel it on the cross, filled Jesus with such dread that He could say to the three disciples, My soul is sorrowful unto. And then, in order that He might be alone with God, He added, ye here, and (Mark 14:33, 34). 3. Jesus withdrew Himself from the three disciples about a cast, and then He down and, saying, Father, if thou be, remove this from me: nevertheless not will, but be done. Never once did Jesus think of disobeying the will of God. His only question in Gethsemane was whether the redemption of His people could, by His Father s appointment, be accomplished in a way less terrible than that of the cross. And Jesus received His answer, not by a voice from heaven, but in that, rather than opening another way for His Son, God sent an from heaven, Him, so that He could endure what, in the wisdom of God, was the only way for our salvation (Luke 22:41-43). 4. According to Luke s account, it was immediately after the appearance of the angel that Jesus was able, being still in, to pray more. How fierce was the struggle and how terrible the suffering we will never know, but we can see something of the effects of it all in that Jesus was as it were great drops of falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44). 5. On returning to the three disciples Jesus found them. A short time before, Peter had boasted of his determination and ability to follow Jesus, no matter what the price to himself and no matter what others may do. Now he shows that he lacks the strength even to stay awake, for an hour. Jesus therefore addressed His admonition particularly to Peter:, sleepest thou? Couldest not thou one hour? (Mark 14:37). 6. Three times Jesus left the disciples and prayed earnestly to His Father. And three times when He returned He found His disciples asleep. The third time, Jesus said with a touch of irony, on now, and take your. No longer, in other words, is there time for remaining awake in order to watch with Him, and to pray that they enter not into temptation. For the is come. The Son of man is into the hands of. The disciples were not ready for that. But Jesus was. Whereas a short time before His human nature seemed to be sinking under a terrible load, now He is calm and confident confident that the cross is the only way, and confident that the victory is His. He says therefore to His disciples, up, let us ; lo, he that me is at. And Jesus goes out to meet the enemy (Mark 14:41, 42). 7. And immediately, while He yet spake, cometh, one of the twelve, and with him a great with [regular weapons of Roman
5 soldiers] and [regular weapons of the temple police] (Matt. 26:47). Evidently, therefore, Judas had been able to persuade the chief priests that they risked losing their prey altogether if they did not act quickly, this very night even if that meant interrupting their own celebrations of the Passover meal. The chief priests then called out the temple police; and, thinking it wise to involve Roman authority at the very beginning, they must also have prevailed on the captain to send troops to assist in this arrest of an insurrectionist, a trouble-maker. So this band of men, numbering perhaps as many as 400, went out, not only with weapons, but also with and, in order to light the way in the middle of the night and, if necessary, to conduct a search for Jesus, if He would try to hide from them (John 18:3). 8. And leading them all was Judas. He went them, to point out where Jesus could likely be found. Discovering Jesus at the very entrance to the garden, Judas drew unto Jesus to Him (Luke 22:47). This was the signal that Judas himself had proposed. He that Jesus had given the chief priests a, saying, Whomsoever I shall, that same is he; him, and him away (Mark 14:44). 9. The signal was, however, not immediately acted on. Perhaps the commander of the Roman troops was perplexed by the proceedings. Here he was, at the head of a formidable force, gathered for what? for taking one unarmed man followed by eleven bewildered disciples, none of whom make any attempt to hide, or to resist, or to flee. While the commander reflected on the apparent absurdity of it all, Jesus asked, Whom ye? When the reply was, Jesus of, Jesus declared I am He. But then something totally unexpected occurred. As soon as Jesus had said unto them, I am He, they all went, and to the 5 Gethsemane/The Arrest ground. A flash of divine power, and the enemy lay prostrate at His feet! What folly to have thought that Jesus could be taken captive against His will! (John 18:4-6). 10. Jesus could simply have walked away. But this was His hour. He therefore restored their strength, and asked again, Whom seek ye? When they gave the same answer as they did the first time, Jesus said, I have you that I am he; if therefore ye seek, let (the disciples) go their way (John 18:7, 8). 11. Evidently the commander of the troops then gave the order, and his soldiers advanced to take Jesus. When the disciples saw what would, they cried, Lord, shall we with the? (Luke 22:49). And Peter, not waiting for an answer, his sword and the high priest s servant (a man named ) and cut off his right (John 18:10). Before the soldiers could take retaliatory action against the disciples, Jesus quickly the ear of Malchus and him, thus effectively removing the offense (Luke 22:51). 12. By their willingness to challenge so large a force, the disciples had demonstrated their courage and their devotion to Jesus. But, at the same time, by their resistance here they were in fact opposing their Master, who had told them plainly that this would, and must, happen. Jesus therefore turned to Peter and said, Put up thy into the : the which my hath given me, shall I not it? (John 18:11). And, to show how totally unnecessary their swords were, Jesus said to His disciples, Thinkest thou that I cannot now to my Father, and he shall give me more than twelve of angels? But how then shall the be fulfilled, that thus it be? (Matt. 26:53, 54).
6 13. Jesus then rebuked the leaders of the Jews: Be ye come out, as against a, with and? When I was with you in the, ye stretched forth no against me. They will however now accomplish their goal. Why? Not because of superior strength but because this is your [the hour divinely appointed for their devilish deed], and the power of [they are tools of Satan] (Luke 22:52, 53). 14. The disciples were unable to fathom what was happening. They were convinced, finally, that Jesus actually wanted to be defenseless before the enemy. Concluding therefore that there was nothing they could do for Him, and that even remaining with Him could serve no useful purpose, they all Him and (Mark 14:50). 15. Then the band of soldiers and the and of the Jews took Jesus, and Him, and Him away... (John 18:12, 13). QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT 1. Jesus prayed, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Did Jesus, do you suppose, really hope that there might possibly be another way to save His people?... or did He, because He is the Son of God, know all along that there was no other way possible? 2. Many Christian martyrs have faced death with a song on their lips. How is it that they can do that, and Jesus in Gethsemane could not possibly have done so? 3. There was no voice from heaven in response to Jesus prayers. How would heaven s silence have been, by itself, an answer to Jesus prayer? Confirmation, however, was given in that God sent an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him (Luke 22:43). Do you see any connection between the coming of the angel and Jesus praying more earnestly and sweating great drops of blood (v. 44)? 6 Gethsemane/The Arrest 4. Compare Mark 14:34 and Mark 14:42. How do you account for the apparent change in Jesus attitude? 5. While Jesus was praying in Gethsemane, Judas and the chief priests were busy doing their own thing. Judas had decided that immediate action should be taken. The chief priests agreed, and determined also that they should take decisive action (that is, that they should employ a multitude of armed men to make the arrest). How should Jesus exposure of Judas in the upper room have demonstrated the folly of any attempt (no matter when it would occur or by how many men) to capture the Lord? 6. The pre-arranged sign by which Judas identified Jesus for those who came to arrest Him served no practical purpose. Why, do you suppose, was the sign not acted upon? 7. From the time of His arrest to the time of His crucifixion Jesus conducted Himself in such a way that He fulfilled perfectly the prophecy of Isaiah that the Messiah would be brought as a lamb to the slaughter (Is. 53:7). Before the enemy laid a finger on Him, however, Jesus caused them all to fall backward. Why did He do that, if He had no intention of using His power in order to escape? How can we account for the fact that, after their strength was restored, the enemy pressed on as if nothing had happened? 8. What do you think was Peter s slicing off the ear of Malchus a justifiable use of the sword?... or was it a violation of the rule later expressed by Paul in Romans 13:1, 2? If it was the latter, why was this incident not mentioned at all at Jesus trial, where there was a desperate attempt to find some fault with Him? 9. Jesus assured His disciples that He had more than twelve legions of angels at His disposal (Matt. 26:53). Apparently this was of no comfort to the disciples, but rather added to their confusion. Can you explain how those words of Jesus could have been, so to speak, the last straw for the disciples that is, how those words could have been followed almost immediately by the disciples forsaking Jesus and fleeing into the darkness (Matt. 26:56)?