Thursday, March 28, 2024

After the Passover Dinner - Jesus Praying in "The Garden of Gethsemane"

1500-25 Agony in the garden Simon Bening (1483-1561)  or follower From a Book of Hours (use of Rome) of Southern Netherlands (Den Haag, MMW, 10 E 3). Passion according to St. John with only a hint of tiny blossoms.

According to all the Gospels, immediately after the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, Jesus took a walk to pray. Each Gospel offers a slightly different account regarding narrative details. The gospels of Matthew & Mark identify this place of prayer as Gethsemane. 

Jesus was accompanied by 3 Apostles: Peter, John & James, whom he asked to stay awake & pray. He moved "a stone's throw away" from them, where He felt overwhelming sadness & anguish, & said "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.Then, a little while later, He said, "If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!" (Matthew 26:42). 

He said this prayer 3 times, checking on the 3 apostles between each prayer & finding them asleep. He commented: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." An angel came from heaven to strengthen him. During his agony in the garden, he prayed, "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground." ( Luke 22:44).

From Illuminated Manuscripts -
1270 Manuscript Leaf with the Agony in the Garden from a Royal Psalter

Illuminated Manuscript, Book of Hours in Dutch, Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Walters Manuscript W.918, fol. 104v

Prayer Book, including Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Walters Manuscript W.164, fol. 15v

Garden of Gethsemane Hennessy Book of Hours - miniaturist Simon Benning - Flanders, 1530-1540

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Rosenwald-Book Of Hours

The garden at Gethsemane, a place whose name literally means oil press, is located on a slope of the Mount of Olives just across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem. A garden of ancient olive trees stands there to this day. Gethsemane is most famous as the place where Jesus prayed & his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion. According to the New Testament it was a place that Jesus & his disciples customarily visited, which allowed Judas to find him on the night of his arrest. 

Gethsemane appears in Matthew (26:36) & Mark (14:32). The Gospel of John says Jesus frequently went to Gethsemane with His disciples to pray (John 18:2). In the Bible at John 18:1l “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.” From other scriptures, such as, Matthew 26:36 we know that this garden was called “Gethsemane.”