Gethsemane and Betrayal
After Supper in the Upper Room, Jesus and his disciples make their way out of the City and move to an olive grove. Later on that night Judas completes his betrayal, and Jesus is arrested. The story is told by a young man who is not named, but may have been Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
To read or hear this story from the young man, scan the QR code. see below
The Young Man's Story
After supper, Jesus suggested that we leave the city for a while. I tried to follow, but the men laughed, and told me to go home – this was a night for the grown-ups. Disappointed, I turned as if to go home. But instead, I turned back and followed at a distance.
The night was warm, and in the moonlight I picked my way down the steps, careful to stay out of sight. Through the maze of alleyways we went, out through the city gate, and across the Kidron Valley. The tombstones were really spooky in the moonlight! Jesus led his friends into a walled olive grove called Gethsemane; I hid behind a part of the wall that had crumbled, and from there I could hear and see everything that happened.
Jesus’ friends laid out their cloaks and sat down. Their chatter was not much more than a murmur, but then I saw Jesus get up. Peter, James and John followed him. Jesus seemed to be quite upset – perhaps it was all that business with Judas at supper – and I heard him ask the three men to watch over him while he prayed. He moved away to be alone, and I saw him fall to his knees. He looked up, and I heard him say, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” He put his head in his hands, and fell silent. I looked back at Peter, James and John, wondering why they hadn’t rushed forward to comfort Jesus, but they had succumbed to the warm air, the large meal and the late hour, and had fallen asleep.
Jesus returned to his disciples. “Simon,” he said to Peter, shaking him awake; “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?” Once more he moved away. When he came back, he again found them sleeping. The three looked embarrassed, and didn’t know what to say to him. Again Jesus moved away to pray. Returning the third time, Jesus said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough!” Leading the three back to the main group, Jesus said to them all, “Let’s go! Here comes my betrayer!”
I had been so wrapped up in watching Jesus, that I hadn’t noticed the armed mob coming across the valley. Jesus and his friends watched them approach, and that’s when I saw Judas in the lead. Cool as a cucumber he walked straight up to Jesus and kissed him! Immediately, they seized Jesus, and his followers, now wide awake, scattered. In the confusion, someone wielded a sword, cutting off a guard’s ear! As Jesus’ friends fled in panic, leaving Jesus a prisoner, I followed, terrified that I would be caught. And I nearly was! One of the Temple police lunged at me as I emerged from my hiding place. But I was too quick for him, and as he grabbed me, his fingers found only my loincloth, which he tore from my body, leaving me as naked as the day I was born – but I got away with my life – just!
The Garden of Gethsemane is outside the city walls. Why did Jesus not escape when he had the chance?
What’s it like to have a friend let you down when you really need support? Have you ever let a good friend down? How did you deal with this?