Let us now enter the Garden of Gethsemane. Are you ready to see how much the Lord loves you? Gethsemane means “oil press” in Aramaic. This garden was apparently a private one just outside the city limits of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, and its name translates well into what is about to happen there.
Now, reading the text, the unfortunate thing is that many translators, wanting to emphasize the severity of these upcoming events, used words that depict Yeshua as being so affected by the circumstances, as if to lose control over them, as if He was reconsidering the cross.
We are going to investigate how these words were translated but let me begin by assuring you that Yeshua was in complete control of absolutely every event from the Garden to the Tav (cross) and onto His resurrection.
Let us now read vv.32-33, They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” And He took with Him Peter and James and John and began to be very distressed and troubled.
The first word defining the condition of the Messiah is translated as distressed which conveys a negative attitude or response to a taxing or hectic situation. It describes someone who is overwhelmed by the events. But this is not what the Greek word conveys.
In secular Greek the word means to be amazed and astonished without losing control. In the Bible it is used 4 times, and of those 3 times, it is translated amazed. The first time is when the people were amazed when they saw Yeshua come down from the Mount of Transfiguration, perhaps because, like Moses, He reflected so much of the glory of God. Another time this word is translated amazed is when the women saw the young man (angel) in the empty tomb (Mark 16:5-6). So, this word is translated as distressed only here in Mark (14:32-33).
What then, might Yeshua have been so amazed and astonished about? It is surely the encounter of something He never yet experienced. This was something new; that is: evil right at its core. He would now begin to experience every sin that was ever committed, the weight of which would be borne on the Tav. He was to pay for each and every sin.
And so, as the verse says, He began to be very amazed perhaps by the great weight and severity of sin He was about to carry. So much so, that this brought Him to say in vs.36, Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.
So intense and extreme was it, that in His humanity and suffering, He asked that this cup be removed. He did not ask for the cup of death to be removed but the cup of sin and of the wrath and fury of God, for in His holiness, it would be the first and the last time that He would experience sin and become sin for us.
It must have been this foreknowledge of the extent of God’s wrath against sin and His having to bear it that caused such great amazement. But at no time did He retract from wanting to give His life for us. He even stresses this point in John 12:27 when He told the disciples, “Now My soul has become disturbed; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose, I came to this hour.
It was not the hour or the cup of death that He asked to be spared from, but rather having His holiness confronted by the lowest realms of sin as the devil and his demons were there, trying and tempting Him. Yeshua knew all along that He came to die for us, but it was not an easy death especially because the holiest of all that is holy was for the first time in contact with sin, even though He committed no sin at all.
But there is still another word that is used here to describe His condition, and this one is so precious and revealing. The word adēmonein is translated troubled that we find in vs.33. This word brings us to consider another great aspect of Yeshua’s sacrifice for us. It describes someone who is disturbed, even in anguish, but what reason, or for whom would the Messiah be in anguish? Surely it was not for himself but, understanding all things, He was troubled for the disciples who would soon undergo much suffering themselves.
In the Bible this word adēmonein is used only three times. It is used two times, once here and once in Matthew to describe this Garden event but see the third time it is used. It is found in Philippians 2:26 where we see a man called Epaphroditus who was at one point very sick. But when finding out that believers in the congregation of Philippi were worried and praying about Him, this distressed him. And so, when he got better, he went to visit them. The longing love of Epaphroditus for others distressed him, and it is in this same sense that this word is used here in Mark.
The thing that really disturbed Yeshua, as we will see from the rest of this account, was His deep concern isHisfor His disciples and how they would fare during this severe ordeal. In fact, from vs.37 to 42, this section is wholly consecrated to their welfare and protection.
The shift is striking as Yeshua, three times over, rises up from His prayer to see how they were doing. Three times He goes to them and wakes them up for we read in Luke that were sleeping from sorrow (Luke 22:45). It was a very difficult time for them. So much so that it brought Yeshua to say in vs.34, My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death. The word perilypos, meaning deeply grieved, speaks of sadness, mourning; but sadness for what or for who? It must have been for the disciples, not for Himself for they were to suffer under the fiercest spiritual attack yet.