The story of Gethsemane unfolds as the Saviour and his apostles share the traditional Passover or seder meal still observed today by Jews all over the world. At a certain point, the Saviour transforms the Passover meal into the sacrament.
As the meal came to its conclusion, Jesus and the apostles then sang a hymn. Psalms 113-118 – tremendously Messianic in nature. The hymn is called the Hallel, which means “praise” and is composed of verses from Psalm 133 to Psalm 118. The root of our word “hallelujah” comes from that word for praise – “hallel.”
The Saviour then offered some final discourses recorded in John 13-17. John Chapter 17 includes the intercessory prayer or the great high priestly prayer.
We pick up the narrative in John chapter 18.
In the darkness of the evening, Jesus and his apostles walked beyond the city wall; down some long, narrow steps; and into the Kidron Valley which divides Mount Zion from the Mount of Olives.
John 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
2 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.
It would appear that Jesus often went to the garden with his disciples. Judas, therefore, knew the place and probably knew that he would find them there.
Mark 14:32 – And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.
Mark provides a name for the garden.
“In Hebrew the word Geth [gath] means ‘press,’ and semane [shemen] means ‘oil’ or ‘richness.’ Gethsemane therefore means ‘the press of oil’ or the ‘press of richness.’ This refers to the huge presses for olives or grapes that were used to squeeze the oil or wine out of the pulp and that would be appropriately found in an olive grove like Gethsemane. Olives or grapes were put into the presses and squeezed until their juices flowed out of them.
What an appropriate name for the Garden where Jesus took upon himself the infinite weight of the sins and sorrows of the world and was pressed with that tremendous load until the blood flowed through his skin. (See Luke 22:44; D&C 19:18.) Just as olives and grapes are squeezed in the press, so Jesus, the true vine (see John 15:1), was squeezed in Gethsemane, ‘the press,’ until his richness, his juice, his oil, his blood, was shed for humanity. No wonder that the wine of the Last Supper and of the Christian sacrament is such a fitting symbol for the blood of Christ-they are obtained by the same process.” (Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News, 119)
Mark 14:33 – And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be asore amazed, and to be very heavy;
What makes the Saviour start to be very heavy? The weight of sin.
“There is no weight heavier than the burden of sin, and the Sinless One…began to sense and feel the bitterness of this singular occasion, a time when the weight of the world was about to be placed upon the shoulders of Him who had made the world.” (Robert L. Millet, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 5: The Gospels [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986], 431.)
The Joseph Smith Translation corrects the text to ‘the disciples began to be sore amazed’. However, Jesus was perfect and He had never felt the effects of sin before. Now he knows it in practice. Elder Neal A Maxwell noted that the physical suffering “was so much worse than the keenest of intellects could have imagined.”
Through the Book of Mormon we know that the atonement was not just for sins
Alma 7:11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
“Elder Neal A. Maxwell gave this insight into the relationship between the Atonement and the Savior’s succoring powers: ‘His empathy and capacity to succor us-in our own sickness, temptations, or sins-were demonstrated and perfected in the process of the great atonement.’ He also said, ‘The marvelous atonement brought about not only immortality but also the final perfection of Jesus’ empathetic and helping capacity.'”
“…No mortal can cry out, ‘he does not understand my plight for my trials are unique.’ There is nothing outside the scope of the Savior’s experience. As Elder Maxwell observed, ‘None of us can tell Christ anything about depression.’ As a result of his mortal experience, culminating in the Atonement, the Savior knows understands, and feels every human condition, every human woe, and every human loss. He can comfort as no other. He can lift burdens as no other. He can listen as no other.” (Tad Callister, Infinite Atonement, pp. 207-9)
The Saviour bore these burdens not only for this world but for all the worlds he created – worlds without number. All of those worlds come under the umbrella of the atonement.
Mark 14:34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
36 – And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; atake away this bcup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
‘The cumulative weight of all mortal sins—past, present, and future—pressed upon that perfect, sinless, and sensitive Soul! All our infirmities and sicknesses were somehow, too, a part of the awful arithmetic of the Atonement’. Neal A Maxwell, General Conference, April 1985)
“Elder Orson F. Whitney, a young missionary in the eastern states, says that one night in a vision:
“‘I seemed to be in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior’s agony. I saw Him as plainly as ever I have seen anyone. Standing behind a tree in the foreground, I beheld Jesus, with Peter, James and John, as they came through a little wicket gate at my right. Leaving the three Apostles there, after telling them to kneel and pray, the Son of God passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed. It was the same prayer with which all Bible readers are familiar: ‘Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.’
“‘As He prayed the tears streamed down his face, which was toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I also wept, out of pure sympathy. My whole heart went out to him; I loved him with all my soul, and longed to be with him as I longed for nothing else.
“‘Presently He arose and walked to where those Apostles were kneeling-fast asleep! He shook them gently, awoke them, and in a tone of tender reproach, untinctured by the least show of anger or impatience, asked them plaintively if they could not watch with him one hour. There He was, with the awful weight of the world’s sins upon his shoulders, with the pangs of every man, woman and child shooting through his sensitive soul-and they could not watch with him one poor hour!'” (Ivan J. Barrett, “He Lives! For We Saw Him,” Ensign, Aug. 1975, 20-21)
Luke 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Heavenly Father couldn’t take the experience from him because then there would have been no atonement and worlds without number would have been lost.
2 Nephi 9:9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself;
What causes the bleeding from every pore? Haematidrosis is a very rare disorder in which the patient sweats blood and/or blood pigments, usually resulting from extreme physical and/or mental stress.
Neil A Maxwell: All the cumulative weight of our sins–the whole human family–fell upon him. He, and he alone, bore them! Thus he is able to say, “I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God” (D&C 76:107; 88:106). This would include all the penalties that a God who cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance would require (see D&C 1:31). Could there be any wrath more fierce than divine wrath? Especially as Jesus encountered cumulative, mortal grossness including the vilest of all human sins? Jesus bore them.
Why did the Saviour go through what he did?
D&C 18:10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
All that the fall of Adam made wrong, the atonement put right.
‘Climbing is a unique sport, presenting mental and physical stress that you learn to overcome by operating close to your limits. Sometimes your limits are higher than you realize. “Of course, you recognize your limits in climbing by falling off the rock,” says Alan Czenkusch [leader of Whistepig Climbing School of Del Norte, Colorado]. “However, you’re safe because you’re on belay.” The belay anchor system is the crux of climbing. It allows falls with impunity – almost. The person running the rope does so to protect the climber. There is a great responsibility and obligation to this concept and Czenkusch explains it solemnly. The belayer protects himself by the use of pitons and other devices which give him fail-safe redundant protection. When the belayer calls out to the climber below “On Belay” it means he is set up correctly and has assumed a serious duty and would even give up his own life to protect the climber. Such dedication should allow the person below to ascent with no fear of falling. The mutual trust which allows belaying is part of the camaraderie, the intimacy, the mystique of mountaineering. Belaying has brought Czenkusch his best and worst moments in climbing. Czenkusch once fell from a high precipice, yanking out three mechanical supports and pulling his belayer off a ledge. He was stopped upside down 10 feet from the ground when his spread-eagled belayer arrested the fall with the strength of his outstretched arms. “Don saved my life,” says Czenkusch. “How do you respond to a guy like that? Give him a used climbing rope for a Christmas present? No, you remember him. You always remember him.” (Eric G. Anderson, “The Vertical Wilderness,” Private Practice, Nov. 1979, p. 21.)