The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all have accounts of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane; but Matthew’s version adds one significant aspect that the other two do not. According to Matthew, when Jesus left the disciples and moved farther into the garden to pray, he began to be sorrowful and troubled (v. 37). Jesus is often called “a Man of Sorrows,” and throughout his life we see him weeping and sighing much more than we see him rejoicing. But the pain he experienced in the garden was like nothing he’d felt before: my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death (v. 38). And, according to Matthew, this pain began as Jesus was on the way to the Garden.
According to Mark, this pain caught Jesus by surprise. Mark uses a Greek word (ekthambeisthai) which means to be moved to “an intense emotional state because of something causing great surprise or perplexity.” Jesus is reeling, dumbfounded, astonished at the depth of his pain and sorrow. Which seems strange – how can the Son of God be surprised by anything – until we realize that Jesus is facing a death unlike any other. No one before or since faced the death Jesus did. Which is why Jesus prayed, My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will (v. 39).
- Matthew 26:36 - 44