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What Happened in Gethsemane?

By Mormon.org
Jesus praying in Gethsemane

After the Last Supper with His Apostles, the Savior made His way to the Garden of Gethsemane—a place He frequented to pray—with his 11 remaining Apostles. The 12th, Judas Iscariot, had already left to carry out his plans of betrayal, which would come to fruition before the night was spent.

The Savior clearly understood His mission and what He had to do to fulfill it. He needed a quiet place to commune with His Father. Leaving eight of the Apostles a way off, He requested that Peter, James, and John accompany Him further into the garden, which they did. Jesus became heavy and overwhelmed by sadness and expressed that to the three. He asked them to watch with Him while He prayed to the Father. Though they tried, sleep overcame them. The Savior interrupted His praying twice to wake His three slumbering disciples and again requested that they watch with Him, exclaiming, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” He then patiently acknowledged their efforts by saying, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40–41).

The Hour Is at Hand

When He approached them for the third time, He essentially told them it was too late, saying, “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matthew 26:45). Already, the torches of the company, brought by the traitorous Apostle, Judas Iscariot, were visible in the distance. In a matter of moments He would be arrested and then meet His fate of crucifixion on the cross.

The physical events and circumstances that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane are simpler to understand than what happened spiritually. What was happening as the Savior began to sweat “great drops of blood”?

The Greatest Act of Love

Mormons believe that it was during these sacred hours in Gethsemane that the Savior began to atone for the sins of all mankind, from the beginning of time until the present. In that quiet garden He willingly took upon Himself all of the pain and suffering the world has ever known. This was the greatest act of love ever performed—a voluntary act that continues to provide hope for each of us. Because of His willing sacrifice, you and I can experience peace, joy, and wholeness. This song describes the love that is still extended to us today through the sacrifice He made that fateful night over two thousand years ago.

To learn more about the sacred events that happened in the Garden of Gethsemane, refer to the three Synoptic Gospels, which are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. For additional details study the Gospel of John—all of which are found in the Holy Bible. You can also study an inspiring account of the proceedings in chapter 33 of Jesus the Christ, a book by James E. Talmage.

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