Who recorded what happened in the garden of Gethsemane?
Have you ever asked yourself who was the author of one of the books in the Bible? Or, have you asked how did the author know about certain events in his book? Are you curious about who recorded what happened in the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus prayed by Himself? Maybe you want to know who was at the events in the garden of Gethsemane. If you do, then you can learn the answer in what follows.
Who Recorded What Happened in the Garden of Gethsemane?
The Bible tells us that there are two authors of each book of the Bible. 2 Peter 1:20-21 reveals the identity of the two authors. The verses read as follows,
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Peter 1 :20-21 (NASB)
The verse explains the two authors of Scripture or the Bible are the Holy Spirit and a human author. The Holy Spirit moved men to write. The Greek word translated is phero. The word means “to guide,” “to direct,” and “to influence.” The Greek grammar implies that the Holy Spirit was continuously influencing the authors to write the books of the Bible. So, the Holy Spirit is one author and a human, chosen by God, is the second author.
Now we understand how the human authors of the four Gospels knew every event that is recorded. They knew what happened because the Holy Spirit guided them. For example, John knew that Jesus existed in eternity past (John 1:1-3). That is why we can trust the four Gospels to be accurate about everything that happened in the garden of Gethsemane. The human authors had some information, but the Holy Spirit guided them also. If some of their information was wrong, the Holy Spirit directed them to accurately write the truth. In some situations the Holy Spirit gave information they did not previously know. A few examples are the creation in Genesis 1-11 and prophecies about Jesus (1 Peter 1:10-12). What follows is an explanation about the source for each of the four gospel accounts of the Garden of Gethsemane events.
Matthew’s Account of Jesus In the Garden of Gethsemane
The author of the Gospel of Matthew is the apostle Matthew. He wrote about the events that occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:36-58. We are told in verses 36-37 that Jesus and the disciples came to Gethsemane. He then took three disciples aside with Him: Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, which were James and John (Luke 5:10).
In verses 39-44 we are told that Jesus left the three disciples three times and prayed. That is, no one was with Jesus when He prayed. The first time He prayed,
“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39 (NASB)
The second and third times He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane,
“My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26:42 (NASB)
Then in verse 47 we are told Judas and a large crowd came after Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Verse 57 teaches that they seized Jesus and led Him to Caiphas, the high priest.
Verse 56 tells us that all of the disciples fled.
“But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled. Matthew 26:56 (NASB)
This means that the disciples were in the garden of Gethsemane and saw the events that occurred. But when did the other disciples join the Jesus, Peter James, and John? The answer is most likely the disciples joined them when Judas, the Roman cohort, and crowd entered the garden. They followed to see what happened.
This means that the apostle Matthew would have been an eyewitness of everything that occurred after Judas and those who came with him walked up to Jesus. So, the only question is, “How did Matthew know the words of Jesus’ prayer?” The answer is what Matthew recorded were either given to him by Jesus or the Holy Spirit. In either situation, the Holy Spirit guided the apostle Matthew when he recorded the prayers.
Mark’s Account of Jesus In the Garden of Gethsemane
The author of the Gospel of Mark was a companion of the apostle Peter. His name is Mark. Mark was a companion of the apostle Peter and wrote about the events in the Garden of Gethsemane. We can find these events in Mark 14:32-54. In this passage, Mark also records that Jesus prayed three times. However, Mark only records some of the words of the first prayer. In that prayer he gave us some additional words that Jesus had prayed. If we combine the words of the first prayer recorded in Matthew 26:39 and in Mark 14:36, we learn the prayer may have been as follows (words from Matthew are in italics):
“Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me. My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”
Verse 39 reports that the words of Jesus’ second prayer contained the same words of His first prayer. If we combine the words from Matthew 26:42 with this prayer, we have the full prayer.
How did Mark obtain his information? The answer is, the words of Jesus’ prayer that Mark recorded were given to him by Peter and by the Holy Spirit. In either situation, the Holy Spirit guided Mark when he recorded the words of the prayer.
Luke’s Account of Jesus In the Garden of Gethsemane
The author of the Gospel of Luke was a companion of the apostle Paul, his name is Luke. According to Luke 1:1-4, he carefully researched the facts about Jesus and then recorded them. We can find them in Luke 22:39-54. The prayer that Luke records is in agreement with that of the other gospel accounts. Here are the words,
“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42 (NASB)
How did Luke obtain his information? The answer is, the words of Jesus’ prayer that Luke recorded were given to him by the other apostles and confirmed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guided Luke when he recorded the words of the prayer.
John’s Account of Jesus In the Garden of Gethsemane
The author of the Gospel of John is the apostle John. John 18:2-15 records what he wanted to include about the events in the garden of Gethsemane. The apostle John did not record Jesus’ prayer that is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
How did John obtain his information? The answer is, he was an eyewitness of everything that occurred. after Judas and those who came with him walked up to Jesus. In addition, the Holy Spirit guided what the apostle John recorded.
In summary, the apostles Matthew and John were eyewitnesses of the events in the garden of Gethsemane. Mark was a companion of Peter who was an eyewitness of the events in the garden. Luke researched the facts of what happened and was a companion of the apostle Paul. Either Jesus or the Holy Spirit provided the information about the words of Jesus’ prayer. 2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us that everything written in the Gospels was directed by the Holy Spirit.
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Study of the Bible - Bibliology