|THE STORY OF
At the foot of the Mount of Olives, near the path over the hill toward Bethany, there
was an orchard of olive trees, called "The Garden of Gethsemane." The word
"Gethsemane" means "oil press." Jesus often went to this place with
his disciples, because of its quiet shade. At this garden he stopped, and outside he left
eight of his disciples, saying to them, "Sit here while I go inside and pray."
He took with him the three chosen ones, Peter, James, and John, and went within the
orchard. Jesus knew that in a little while Judas would be there with a band of men to
seize him; that in a few hours he would be beaten, and stripped, and led out to die. The
thought of what he was to suffer came upon him and filled his soul with grief. He said to
Peter and James and John:
"My soul is filled with sorrow, a sorrow that almost kills me. Stay here and watch
while I am praying."
He went a little further among the trees, and flung himself down upon the ground, and
"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not
as I will, but as thou willest!"
So earnest was his feeling and so great his suffering that there came out upon his face
great drops of sweat like blood, falling upon the ground. After praying for a time, he
rose up from the earth and went to his three disciples, and found them all asleep. He
awaked them, and said to Peter: "What, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch
and pray that you may not go into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh
He left them, and went a second time into the woods, and fell on his face, and prayed
"O my Father, if this cup cannot pass away, and I must drink it, then thy will be
He came again to the three disciples, and found them sleeping; but this time he did not
awake them. He went once more into the woods, and prayed, using the same words. And an
angel from heaven came to him and gave him strength. He was now ready for the fate that
was soon to come, and his heart was strong. Once more he went to the three disciples, and
said to them: "You may as well sleep on now, and take your rest, for the hour is at
hand; and already the Son of man is given by the traitor into the hands of sinners. But
rise up and let us be going. See, the traitor is here!"
The disciples awoke; they heard the noise of a crowd, and saw the flashing of torches
and the gleaming of swords and spears. In the throng they saw Judas standing, and they
knew now that he was the traitor of whom Jesus had spoken the night before. Judas came
rushing forward, and kissed Jesus, as though he were glad to see him. This was a signal
that he had given beforehand to the band; for the men of the guard did not know Jesus, and
Judas had said to them:
"The one that I shall kiss is the man that you are to take; seize him and hold him
Jesus said to Judas, "Judas, do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?"
Then he turned to the crowd, and said, "Whom do you seek?"
They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."
Jesus said, "I am he."
When Jesus said this, a sudden fear came upon his enemies; they drew back and fell upon
After a moment, Jesus said again, "Whom do you seek?"
And again they answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."
And Jesus said, pointing to his disciples, "I told you that I am he. If you are
seeking me, let these disciples go their own way."
PETER DENIES CHRIST—And
Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, 'Before
the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
But as they came forward to seize Jesus, Peter drew his sword, and struck at one of the
men in front, and cut off his right ear. The man was a servant of the high-priest, and his
name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter:
"Put up the sword into its sheath; the cup which my Father has given me, shall I
not drink it? Do you not know that I could call upon my Father, and he would send to me
armies upon armies of angels?"
Then he spoke to the crowd, "Let me do this." And he touched the place where
the ear had been cut off, and it came on again and was well. Jesus said to the rulers and
leaders of the armed men:
"Do you come out against me with swords and clubs as though I were a robber? I was
with you every day in the Temple, and you did not lift your hands against me. But the
words in the scriptures must come to pass; and this is your hour."
When the disciples of Jesus saw that he would not allow them to fight for him, they did
not know what to do. In their sudden alarm they all ran away, and left their Master alone
with his enemies. These men laid their hands on Jesus, and bound him, and led him away to
the house of the high-priest. There were at that time two men called high-priests by the
Jews. One was Annas, who had been high-priest until his office had been taken from him by
the Romans, and given to Caiphas, his son-in-law. But Annas still had great power among
the people; and they brought Jesus, all bound as he was, first to Annas.
Simon Peter, and John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, had followed after the crowd of
those who carried Jesus away; and they came to the door of the high-priest's house. John
knew the high-priest and went in; but Peter at first stayed outside, until John went out
and brought him in. He came in, but did not dare to go into the room where Jesus stood
before the high-priest Annas. In the court-yard of the house, they had made a fire of
charcoal, and Peter stood among those who were warming themselves at the fire.
Annas in the inner room asked Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus
"What I have taught has been open in the synagogues and in the Temple. Why do you
ask me? Ask those that heard me; they know what I said."
Then one of the officers struck Jesus on the mouth, saying to him:
"Is this the way that you answer the high-priest?"
Jesus answered the officer calmly and quietly:
"If I have said anything evil, tell what the evil is; but if I have spoken the
truth, why do you strike me?"
While Annas and his men were thus showing their hate toward Jesus, who stood bound and
alone among his enemies, Peter was still in the court-yard warming himself at the fire. A
woman, who was a serving-maid in the house, looked at Peter sharply, and finally said to
"You were one of those men with this Jesus of Nazareth!"
Peter was afraid to tell the truth, and he answered her:
"Woman, I do not know the man; and I do not know what you are talking about."
And to get away from her, he went out into the porch of the house. There another
woman-servant saw him and said: "This man was one of those with Jesus!"
And Peter swore with an oath that he did not know Jesus at all. Soon a man came by, who
was of kin to Malchus, whose ear Peter had cut off. He looked at Peter, and heard him
speak, and said:
"You are surely one of this man's disciples; for your speech shows that you came
Then Peter began again to curse and to swear, declaring that he did not know the man.
Just at that moment the loud, shrill crowing of a cock startled Peter; and at the same
time he saw Jesus, who was being dragged through the hall from Annas to the council-room
of Caiphas, the other high-priest. And the Lord turned as he was passing and looked at
Then there flashed into Peter's mind what Jesus had said on the evening before!
"Before the cock crows to-morrow morning, you will three times deny that you have
ever known me."
Then Peter went out of the high-priest's house into the street; and he wept bitterly
because he had denied his Lord.
Previous Chapter l Table
Contents l Next Chapter