Lesson 112: From the Upper Room to the Garden
Matt 26:30-46, Mark 14:26-42, Luke 22:31-46
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome! This is lesson # 112. In our last lesson we read in John 18:1 where John very briefly described their departure from the upper room like this, "When Jesus had spoken these words, [i.e. the prayer in John ch. 17] he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples." The temple was located on the north slope of Mt. Moriah and only a small stream called the "brook Cedron" separated the Mount of Moriah and the Mount of Olives. This little brook or stream, undoubtedly dry most of the year, is sometimes spelled C-E-D-R-0-N as it is here in John 18:1. In the O.T. it is spelled K-I-D-R-O-N, the same creek. The place where they went is called a "garden" by John. But, it is said to be "a place called Gethsemane", by Matthew and Mark. Luke simply referred to the place as the Mount of Olives. This may have been more what we would call a small park or possibly an orchard. Smith's Bible Dictionary gives the word "Gethsemane" to mean "an oil press." Thus, it was most likely an olive orchard, possibly hedged about with shrubbery, a quiet and isolated place. John says in v.2, that "Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples." So, it very well may have been the place on the Mt. Olivet where Jesus sat with Peter, James, John and Andrew on Tuesday evening and discussed the destruction of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple and the end of the world (Matt. ch. 24). John said very briefly that Jesus went from the upper room to the garden. However, Matthew and the other writers gave us a little more information about that short trip of perhaps a half mile.
Let's begin by reading Matthew. The reference is Matt. 26:30. Let's read through v.35. Are you ready? Matthew 26:30-35, let's read. "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples." Alright, I tend to envision this conversation as taking places while they walked along. Jesus, speaking to the eleven apostles, said: "All ye shall be offended because of me this night..." Peter in his quick, impetuous and consoling way told Jesus, "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." No doubt, Peter spoke in a very courageous way. Without doubt, Peter meant every word he said. But, circumstances alter cases and this was one time Peter got altered. Not only Peter, notice the last sentence in v.35 said, "Likewise also said all the disciples." So, Peter got a few "Amen’s" when he spoke out. However, Jesus told Peter he would deny him that very night before the cock crow. I trust you know a cock is a male chicken, better known to us as a rooster. It is usually said that roosters crow at midnight and at dawn and again about half way between midnight and dawn or about 3 AM. But, sometimes the expression "the cock's crowning" is used synonymously with dawn, i.e. daylight. The O.T. prophecy that Jesus referred to about smiting the shepherd and the sheep being scattered apparently has reference to Zechariah 13:7.
Now, I trust that you remember John recorded very similar language at the table in the upper room. I'm talking about the last verse in John ch. 13. But Matthew and Mark both specifically record this conversation as being after they had sung a hymn and left the upper room. So, I am constrained to think that Jesus said this twice, i.e. that Peter would deny Jesus. The fact that it was repeated may be one of the reasons that it sticks out so and is emphasized by all the writers. Let's read Mark's account. Mark 14:26-31. Can you find that? Mark ch. 14 and beginning in v.26. We're going to read six verses. Here we go/ Mark 14:26. "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. And Jesus said unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I shall die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all." O.K. very much like Matthew, right? Notice two or three more things. First, they sang a hymn before they left the upper room in the city. Every reference in the N.T. dealing with worship, always says sing as this verse does. Never is there a reference to music or to musical instruments. I'm talking about the kingdom, the N.T. church, i.e. the worship of the apostles and early disciples as recorded in the N.T. You are aware, I trust, I've repeated it often enough; the church or kingdom was not yet in force on that Thursday night of the passover that we've been discussing. But, even there no reference is made to mechanical instruments of music. Secondly, notice that both Matthew and Mark mentioned that Jesus said, "after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee." (Mark 34:28). How do you think the apostles understood that "when I am risen" business? They probably didn't! But, like a lot of other things, they learned the meaning later and we shall discover it happened as Jesus said. Also, put a brain cell on that going back into Galilee business. We'll get to it later, so hang on to what Jesus said. Thirdly, I'm assuming it was still before midnight; but, look at what Jesus said and how he said it in v.30 about, "That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow." This verifies that all of the night was considered part of the same day, and of course, the day it was part of was Friday. As we have said before, Friday began at sundown on Thursday evening.
Let's move on to Luke. It's in Luke ch. 22, beginning with v.31. Have you got it? Let's read Luke 22:31-34. Ready? "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." The word "thrice" means three times. Luke's statement is a little more clear and exacting in that it says, "thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." Also, look at the word "converted" in v.32, i.e. look at the way it's used in the N.T. Peter would wander off, i.e. Peter would temporarily depart from the faith; but, that does not mean his faith failed altogether. Peter would be CONVERTED, in other words, Peter would return to his senses and recognize his mistake and try to make up for it. Jesus instructed Peter that when he was converted to STRENGTHEN THY BRETHREN, i.e. help to convert and reconcile the other apostles. Jesus knew Peter's faith and Jesus knew Peter's desire to obey; but, Jesus also knew the pressures to which Peter would be exposed that night. However, Jesus also recognized that with Peter faith and desire to obey and quick witted nature; Peter would be one of the first to recover, i.e. his "sorrow would be turned to joy" as Jesus expressed it in John 16:20.
Let's read a few more verses in Luke. We'll read v.35-38. Have you got your eyes on it? Let's read, beginning in v.35. "And he said unto them. When I sent you without purse, and script, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two*swords. And he said unto them, It is enough." In these words, Jesus tried to impress upon the eleven that, that night was going to be rough. When they had been instructed to go over Galilee, two by two, i.e. the limited commission back in Matt. ch. 10 with no money, and no shoes; they thought it was going to be rough. But, Jesus had them to admit; they got along pretty good on that former occasion. However, Jesus' point here is that the former occasion wasgravy, so-to-speak, compared to what was in store for them that night. It is clear from these words of Jesus that the same restrictions did not (and do not) apply to the great commission as he required of the apostles on the limited commission in Matthew ch. 10. That part about selling their garment and buying a sword was undoubtedly figurative. The point being, that there was going to be real carnal warfare that night compared to the former times. If that's not it, I don't understand it. It would appear the apostles misunderstood Jesus' point when they showed the two swords and called attention to them. Peter was probably one of them that had the sword, I conclude this from what we discover later in John ch. 18. Obviously, if Jesus had been talking about real carnal warfare; two swords would be insufficient among twelve men. But, Jesus simply dropped the issue by saying, "That is enough"; which should have caused them to see he was NOT talking about literal warfare.
As I said before, this apparently all happened as they walked along. But, they finally arrived at the garden called Gethsemane, some place on the Mount of Olives. So, let's read a little more. Since you have your book open to Luke ch. 22, we'll read Luke first. It's v.39-46. Have you got it? Luke 22:39-46. let's read. "And 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, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." This is very picturesque speech. I'm afraid my comments wouldn't add much. Jesus instructed the apostles to pray, v.40. How far can you throw a rock? That's about how far Jesus went beyond the apostles in the garden. Latch on to what Jesus said in his prayer, v.42. Jesus became very distraught and involved in prayer. Notice that divine help was sent in the form of an angel to strengthen him. In his agony he began to sweat profusely. Added to this, he discovered the apostles did not pray as he had instructed; they simply went to sleep. This tell us that what Jesus had said to the apostles earlier about it going to be a rough night had not really registered with them. Thus, the timing here in the garden must have been several minutes or possibly even an hour.
Mark's account of this is a little longer, Mark 14:32-42. Can you find that? Mark ch. 14, we'll begin in v.32. Let's read! "And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible with thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand." O.K. Mark adds a few more details to the picture. Keep in mind this was at night. Peter, James and John were placed a little closer to Jesus than the others to watch and pray while Jesus was praying. We learn also that Peter was one that went to sleep. Mark doesn't say anything about the angel. We learn that prayer prevents one from entering into temptation. There is much truth in that statement. Jesus told Peter, "The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." In other words, Peter wanted to obey but he JUST HAD NOT GRASPED how difficult the night was going to be.
Let's read Matthew. It's Matt. 26:36-46. Are you ready to read? The reference is Matt. 26:36. Let's read! "Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, 0 my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, 0 my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying, the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me." O.K. we've read Matthew, Mark and Luke. This brings us to Jesus's arrest in the garden. We'll get to that in our next lesson. The idea of a cup in v.39 is figurative. One of the ways of execution by the Romans, was to force the person to drink a cup of poison. Until our next lesson, have a good day.