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  Abstract:  This is the most intimate prayer of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel. He said these words right before his capture and here we may sense the struggle of the (divine) man confronting death. In Mk 14,18 he speaks about his resurrection, but he is not facing death easily. He enters the garden of Gethsemane (Craig: “oil-press”, Cranfield: “press of oil”). Nine disciples have to sit down, and three have to accompany him. Jesus gave new names only to these three disciples, and they wanted to suffer and die with him; they are witnesses (France). He is troubled facing death, but this is not distrust. This story is not made up by the disciples; otherwise it would lack Jesus’ fear (Hooker), and the fact that they fall asleep. Jesus is stretched to the limit (peri,lupoj), he needs the companionship of his disciples (grhgore,w), Schweizer: “watch” is mentioned in contrast with their sleeping. Jesus goes mikro,n away: a. he needs the closeness of his disciples, b. he needs to be alone with his Father. He is still in hearing range (Lk 22,41 w`sei. li,qou bolh.n). Gundry: it was a custom to pray aloud even alone. The problem: who recorded his prayer? a. the disciples, b. Jesus told them afterwards, c. the young man (Burkitt, Saunderson). The eiv dunato,n evstin is not disbelief, but he asks for the divine plan to be changed. The “hour” in apocalyptic literature is connected with the end and with the judgement (Dan 11,40.45 LXX). Jesus calls God Abba in a very intimate way, that was not customary in Hebrew prayer; he knew that he was the Son of God. Derrett alludes to the case of Isaac, when God found another solution for him (Gen 22,1–19). Here comes the heart of this pericope and prayer: he wants to escape death, but for him the will of his Father is more important.
Jesus returns to his disciples, but they sleep. He was away one hour (Evans). Reprobation: Simon, and not Peter, who was ready to die for him, now sleeps. Jesus returns three times, Peter sleeps three times, and then denies him three times. Jesus remains more and more alone.
It continues his reproach, this time to all three of them. There is a new command for watching (which here means more than just keeping awake) and proseu,comai is added. The prayer is not for escaping the temptation, rather for standing up to the test.
Jesus goes to pray for a second time, not too far from them. He needed the support of his disciples, but they failed. Lk 22,43: an angel from heaven strengthened him. He gives an example to pray. He prayed the same thing but not with the same words (Swete, Hendriksen). The issue was the same, that He might understand God’s will (v. 36). Jesus returns for the second time, and the disciples sleep. He is lonely. Peter does not know what to answer (he was already in this situation – Mk 9,6). The rabbinic rule says: if someone falls asleep and cannot answer a question, the ceremony is over (Mann). Jesus expected from his disciples that they watch and pray with him (Tertullian).
There is no mentioning that Jesus goes away, prays and the disciples sleep for the third time. He tells them: kaqeu,dw and avnapau,w. Morgan: this is not ironic, but full of love. The “now” may sustain this view. The Codex Bobbiensis has restructured vv.41–42, inserting “and after a little while he aroused them” before “the hour has come” (Metzger). They don’t have to stay awake and pray anymore; this is a new situation. Now Jesus knows what God’s will is, and he is ready to die (Focant). Maybe he left his disciples to rest for a while, but then saw the approaching torches and he commands them to get up. They will join the other eight disciples before Judas will arrive. He wakes them up not to flee, but to go to meet his fate. He knows exactly what will happen.

Keywords: Jesus, prayer, disciples, Gethsemane, Mark.

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