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The Agony in the Garden. 36 [a](A)Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane,[b] and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”(B) 37 (C)He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,[c] and began to feel sorrow and distress. 38 (D)Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.[d] Remain here and keep watch with me.” 39 (E)He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father,[e] if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.[f] The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 [g](F)Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” 43 Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. 44 He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. 45 (G)Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. 46 Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.”

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  1. 26:36–56 Cf. Mk 14:32–52. The account of Jesus in Gethsemane is divided between that of his agony (Mt 26:36–46) and that of his betrayal and arrest (Mt 26:47–56). Jesus’ sorrow and distress (Mt 26:37) in face of death is unrelieved by the presence of his three disciples who, though urged to watch with him (Mt 26:38, 41), fall asleep (Mt 26:40, 43). He prays that if…possible his death may be avoided (Mt 26:39) but that his Father’s will be done (Mt 26:39, 42, 44). Knowing then that his death must take place, he announces to his companions that the hour for his being handed over has come (Mt 26:45). Judas arrives with an armed band provided by the Sanhedrin and greets Jesus with a kiss, the prearranged sign for his identification (Mt 26:47–49). After his arrest, he rebukes a disciple who has attacked the high priest’s servant with a sword (Mt 26:51–54), and chides those who have come out to seize him with swords and clubs as if he were a robber (Mt 26:55–56). In both rebukes Jesus declares that the treatment he is now receiving is the fulfillment of the scriptures (Mt 26:55, 56). The subsequent flight of all the disciples is itself the fulfillment of his own prediction (cf. 31). In this episode, Matthew follows Mark with a few alterations.
  2. 26:36 Gethsemane: the Hebrew name means “oil press” and designates an olive orchard on the western slope of the Mount of Olives; see note on Mt 21:1. The name appears only in Matthew and Mark. The place is called a “garden” in Jn 18:1.
  3. 26:37 Peter and the two sons of Zebedee: cf. Mt 17:1.
  4. 26:38 Cf. Ps 42:6, 12. In the Septuagint (Ps 41:5, 12) the same Greek word for sorrowful is used as here. To death: i.e., “enough to die”; cf. Jon 4:9.
  5. 26:39 My Father: see note on Mk 14:36. Matthew omits the Aramaic ’abbā’ and adds the qualifier my. This cup: see note on Mk 10:38–40.
  6. 26:41 Undergo the test: see note on Mt 6:13. In that verse “the final test” translates the same Greek word as is here translated the test, and these are the only instances of the use of that word in Matthew. It is possible that the passion of Jesus is seen here as an anticipation of the great tribulation that will precede the parousia (see notes on Mt 24:8; 24:21) to which Mt 6:13 refers, and that just as Jesus prays to be delivered from death (Mt 26:39), so he exhorts the disciples to pray that they will not have to undergo the great test that his passion would be for them. Some scholars, however, understand not undergo (literally, “not enter”) the test as meaning not that the disciples may be spared the test but that they may not yield to the temptation of falling away from Jesus because of his passion even though they will have to endure it.
  7. 26:42 Your will be done: cf. Mt 6:10.