Agony in the Garden – YouTube image

This article will focus on the events that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, hours before Yeshua’s arrest.
Have we really understood the events that took place in Gethsemane?
We will revise the prayers and petitions of Yeshua on that  night.
What was Yeshua really asking of the Eternal in those dark moments?

The Nazarene Writings (known as the New Testament) tell us that Yeshua was extremely anxious the night before his death.

Matthew 26:38-39, 42 [The Scriptures (2009) - TS]
38 Then He said to them, “My being is exceedingly grieved, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” 
39 And going forward a little, He fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. 
... ... ... 
42 Again He went away, a second time, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is impossible for this to pass unless I drink it, let Your desire be done.” 
(Words of Yeshua in purple)

What was the cup that Yeshua was talking about? In the Hebrew mind, a cup can mean difficulty, suffering, tragedy or death. What was the suffering or death that Yeshua was wanting to pass away from him?

There are some who maintain and teach that Yeshua wanted to evade death on the stake/cross if possible. And this would be understandable, as the Roman crucifixion was a terrible form of execution. They believe that the authors of these events show us a Yeshua who was struggling to control his weakness in a moment of anguish.
According to these popular teachers, the Eternal did not grant his wish because, in the end, he did suffer and died at the stake. They argue that Yeshua submitted himself to the will of the Eternal and that, in the end, it was done.

However, the author of the book of Hebrews wrote

Hebrews 5:7 [TS]
{Yeshua} who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His reverent fear, 

So, the author of Hebrews says that Yeshua’s prayers were heard because of his reverent attitude. There seems to be a contradiction between the traditional interpretation of the events in Gethsemane and this verse in Hebrews. As we shall see, in the traditional interpretation of this event is incorrect. 

We know, through the Gospels, that Yeshua knew very well that he would suffer and die at the stake. In fact, on various occasions he told his disciples that he would die at the stake and that he was confident that the Creator would resurrect him. Moreover, one of the conditions he imposed on anyone who wanted to be his disciple was that they take their stake (the willingness to die, if necessary) and follow him. Why then did Yeshua ask the Eternal, not once but three times, to let that cup pass from him? Did this man, who was full of faith and certainty, become weak at the last and crucial hour? Did he have a change of mind? Was it that he was not ready to do what he asked his disciples to do? Or is there another reason that we have not considered?
We will look at verses that clearly show that Yeshua did not intend to ask to be excused from death at the stake.


Matthew 16:21 [TS]
From that time יהושע{Yehoshua} began to show to His taught ones that it was necessary for Him to go to Yerushalayim, and to suffer much from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and to be raised again the third day.   

After his transfiguration on the mountain, Yeshua said the following to his disciples

Matthew 17:9 [TS]
...Do not mention the vision to anyone until the Son of Adam is raised from the dead

On another occasion he told them

Matthew 20:18-19 
18  “See, we are going up to Yerushalayim, and the Son of Adam shall be delivered up to the chief priests and to the scribes. And they shall condemn Him to death, 
19  and deliver Him to the nations to mock and to flog and to impale. And the third day He shall be raised.” 
Matthew 26:2
You know that after two days the Pesah{Passover} takes place, and the Son of Adam is to be delivered up to be impaled.

In these verses, Yeshua clearly mentioned the manner of death that he would experience, he was sure of what would happen; he would be crucified by the Romans and resurrected by the Eternal. 
Immediately after Matthew 16:21, the Nazarene Writings tell us that Kepha (Peter) took Yeshua aside and scolded Yeshua telling him to have compassion on himself

Matthew 16:22 [TS]
And Kepha took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be kind to Yourself, Master, this shall not be to You!”

How did Yeshua respond to the kind wish of his most prominent disciple?

Matthew 16:23  
But He turned and said to Kepha, Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to Me, for your thoughts are not those of Elohim, but those of men.

Kepha wanted to avoid Yeshua’s death, but he was reprimanded for not wanting the will of the Eternal, rather he favoured the will of men. Yeshua is telling him that to avoid the crucifixion would be to obey man and not the Eternal. Yeshua’s priority was the will of the Eternal.
The conventional view that Yeshua was pleading with the Father not to be crucified is not in harmony with these verses. If this view is correct, then we have Yeshua pleading with the Father in the same light as Kepha in Matthew 16:22, which is to avoid the crucifixion.

In literary terms, this (the conventional view) does not seem to be the image that the Nazarene writers wanted to portray. This view portrays an enlightened man who all of sudden contradicts himself. He criticises Kepha for wanting to avoid his death by crucifixion but, in the last hour, he asks the same thing from the Father. From a literary point of view, it does not make sense.
After rebuking Kepha, Yeshua goes on to say

Matthew 16:24 [TS]
Then יהושע said to His taught ones, If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his stake, and follow Me. 

He was asking his followers to do the same thing that he was about to do; he was about to deny himself and submit to death at the stake.
After reading all these verses in the book of Matthew, in which Yeshua firmly states how he was going to die and later on, resurrect, how is it that at the last moment, in the same book, he backtracks? It does not make sense.
If the conventional view is the right one, it would have been a disappointment for Yeshua’s disciples and a bad example for his followers.

But there is more evidence. When the soldiers came to arrest Yeshua in the Garden of Gethsemane and Kepha tried to defend Yeshua, he stated

Matthew 26:53 [TS] you think that I am not able to pray to My Father now, and He shall provide Me with more than twelve legions of messengers? 

Yeshua was sure that the Eternal would send help if he asked for it. Therefore, the Eternal would have spared Yeshua from the crucifixion had he asked for it. He scolds Kepha again because he had drawn his sword to defend Yeshua. All of this proves that Yeshua was not trying to avoid the crucifixion.
The book called John is very clear on this topic. When Yeshua made his triumphant entry into Yerushalayim, Yeshua denied that he would ask the Eternal to spare him the crucifixion

John 12:27, 32,33
27  “Now I Myself am troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this reason I came to this hour. 
... ... ...
32  “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, shall draw all men unto Myself.” 
... ... ...
33  This He said, signifying by what death He was about to die.

So, why did Yeshua pray: O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, and “O My Father, if it is impossible for this cup to pass unless I drink it, let Your desire be done.” 

When Yeshua and his disciples reached Gethsemane, he told them to sit in an area and pray. He took with him Kepha and two others and said to them

Matthew 26:38 [TS]
  ... My being is exceedingly grieved, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.

Note that the author is telling us that Yeshua is so distressed that he is reaching the point of death and he asks his disciples to watch with him. In other words his affliction is killing him in Gethsemane. His agony was so extreme that he suffered a condition called ‘hematidrosis’ (the sweating of blood).

Luke 22:44 [TS]
 And being in agony, He was praying more earnestly. And His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 

That was the cup that Yeshua was trying to avoid, if possible. Why? To be able to reach the stake, which was the will of the Eternal. This is why Scripture tells us that Yeshua says, the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. He was spiritually capable of going to his death at the stake, but physically, his body was up to the point of death.

Matthew 26:39 [TS]
 And going forward a little, He fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I desire, but as You desire.” 

Yeshua showed his total submission to the will of the Father. He was willing to drink that cup of death in Gethsemane if that was the will of the Eternal. Immediately after the third time he made this petition to the Father, his agony was temporarily relieved. He went to his disciples and said: the hour has come near. His petition to not die before time was granted. He was strengthened to be able to reach the stake. The purpose of his prayer was to be saved from death in Gethsemane, not from death at the stake. This is in harmony with Yeshua’s sayings concerning the crucifixion. He demanded that his followers take up their stake, and when it was his turn he did not evade it.

Traditional interpretation teaches that Yeshua attempted to avoid death at the stake. In moments of agony, he faltered and asked the Eternal to spare him that manner of death. But this interpretation contradicts many verses, as we have seen above. Moreover, traditional interpretation cannot be correct because Yeshua, not long before, had reprimanded Kepha for wanting to avoid his suffering at the stake and even called him ‘adversary’ for not wanting him to fulfil divine will. At the moment of his arrest, Yeshua stopped the violent act of Kepha when he cut the ear of one of the priest’s servants and told him

Matthew 26:52 [TS]
Return your sword to its place, for all who take the sword shall die by the sword. 

Yeshua did not want to die by the sword; he wanted to reach the stake, which was the will of the Father. At the moment of his arrest, Yeshua was willing to go to the crucifixion.

Matthew 26:53 [TS] you think that I am not able to pray to My Father now, and He shall provide Me with more than twelve legions of messengers? 

The traditional view or interpretation is not logical or coherent. Yeshua was not evading death at the stake. The alternative interpretation that this article proposes, underscores the faith, firmness and certainty that Yeshua was willing to do the will of the Eternal.

Avdiel Ben Oved