Jesus Prays, the Disciples Sleep

Garden of Gethsemane

There is a portion of Bible scripture in Matthew (26:36-56) that has always left me wondering. It’s where Jesus goes into the garden of Gethsemane to pray. The gospel writer goes into considerable detail about what happened …

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38 Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”42 Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.” (From the New Revised Standard Edition)

Note that there are three instances in which Jesus retreats into the garden of Gethsemane to pray. Each time he requests the disciples to stay awake while he is gone … and each time he returns to find them sound asleep.

What I have never been able to figure out is how did the gospel writer know what Jesus prayed if the disciples were asleep the entire time?

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29 thoughts on “Jesus Prays, the Disciples Sleep

  1. This story is one that preachers “preach around” the obvious problem by distracting and redirecting the flow of thought. I remember it being preached and wondering even back then, “but who heard him pray? Who heard what he said if they were all asleep?”

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  2. Hi Nan, since we “met” on Nate’s blog, I thought I’d check out yours – it’s always nice to get to know someone through their blog.

    The christians can simply say that God can reveal anything to anybody, particularly a gospel writer, but the sceptics wouldn’t accept that answer. And the sceptics could simply say that the event didn’t happen, but that wouldn’t be acceptable to the christians.

    Fortunately, there is a simple answer to your question. Historical scholars often have answers, and they do here. You will note that Jesus’ prayers are extremely short (hardly long enough for the disciples to go to sleep) so it seems clear that they report what they heard before they fell asleep.

    Thus historian Maurice Casey (who is not a christian so cannot reasonably be accused of bias) writes in his book Jesus of Nazareth (p438):

    “He went just a short distance away … Consequently, the inner group of three heard his loud crying, a normal way for a faithful Jew at that time to pray to God when in distress. They transmitted the main points to the tradition ….. the prayer would not have been invented by the early church. There should therefore be no doubt about its authenticity …. After a while the three most important members of the Twelve went to sleep ….”

    Not all scholars would agree with Casey, but my reading suggests most would. So there is your answer. Hope that is of interest. Best wishes.

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    • unkleE! Thanks for stopping by.

      You are correct. Based on the gospel narrative, each of the three prayers were extremely short … “hardly long enough for the disciples to go to sleep.” Yet they did. You indicate (based on Casey’s assessment, I assume) that they must have reported what they heard before they fell asleep. To make this statement one would have to believe that Jesus remained in the garden after he uttered his prayer. But there is no indication in the scripture that this is what happened. There is a “hint” this might be the case when he said to Peter, “…could you not stay awake with me one hour?” but even so, that was only after his first prayer. Moreover, it may only have been an example of Jesus’ frustration with the disciples rather than an actual timeframe. We just don’t know.

      Interestingly, I had not heard of Casey before now … and I did a LOT of research for my book. I’ll have to investigate and perhaps add his works to my library. As for what he wrote: “… the prayer would not have been invented by the early church,” I don’t agree. For several reasons: (1) the stories about Jesus were faith-based, written for persuasive reasons rather than historical, (2) nearly all modern biblical scholars agree the gospels were not written by first-hand observers, and (3) the various events described in Jesus’ life were inseparably woven with an interpretation of these events (C.H. Dodd).

      Essentially there is little in the New Testament that I consider factual. But it is challenging to discuss the various perspectives and possibilities. 🙂

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  3. “To make this statement one would have to believe that Jesus remained in the garden after he uttered his prayer. But there is no indication in the scripture that this is what happened.”

    I’m sorry Nan, but I don’t understand this. Jesus went away to pray for a while. The disciples are awake long enough to hear the beginning of the prayer and to summarise it. Then they fall asleep while jesus continues to pray. What is difficult to believe about that sequence of events? What in that sequence isn’t clearly indicated by the text?

    “Interestingly, I had not heard of Casey before now”

    He has been around for a while, but his book is only recent.

    ” I don’t agree. For several reasons: (1) the stories about Jesus were faith-based, written for persuasive reasons rather than historical, (2) nearly all modern biblical scholars agree the gospels were not written by first-hand observers, and (3) the various events described in Jesus’ life were inseparably woven with an interpretation of these events (C.H. Dodd).”

    I don’t see any reason in those three to challenge the historicity. (1) Why do “faith-based” and historical have to be either-or? Most ancient writings had a political or religious or other viewpoint, but that doesn’t prevent them also being historical. (2) And scholars also know that oral transmission was very reliable about the main points of the story (though often a little less so about the peripheral details). (3) How does interpretation make reporting necessarily less reliable?

    “Essentially there is little in the New Testament that I consider factual.”

    That is a conclusion few scholars would agree with, whether they are believers or not. Casey is not a believer, and he believes on the basis of the historical evidence and the Aramaisms that Mark’s gospel is very good history. Here is a sample of quote from scholars (none of them believers):

    [Mark] used Aramaic sources, some of which were abbreviated but in all other respects literally accurate accounts of incidents from the life of Jesus and sayings which he spoke.”

    Maurice Casey (note: he doesn’t mean that every incident recorded is literally accurate)

    Historical reconstruction is never absolutely certain, and in the case of Jesus it is sometimes highly uncertain. Despite this, we have a good idea of the main lines of his ministry and his message. We know who he was, what he did, what he taught, and why he died. ….. the dominant view [among scholars] today seems to be that we can know pretty well what Jesus was out to accomplish, that we can know a lot about what he said, and that those two things make sense within the world of first-century Judaism.”

    EP Sanders

    I don’t think there’s any serious historian who doubts the existence of Jesus …. We have more evidence for Jesus than we have for almost anybody from his time period.”

    Bart Ehrman

    Each of us is free to draw our own conclusions, but I’m sure you would agree that we need to base our conclusions on the best evidence available.`

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    • Oh my goodness. It looks like we have a discussion on our hands.

      First, where in the scripture (as quoted on my blog page) does it say that Jesus “went away to pray for a while”? It does say that he “went a little further,” but we have no idea how far away he went or how long he prayed while he was there. I will concede that he may have been close enough for the disciples to hear him based on what Luke writes in 22:41, but IMO, the very fact there are three different versions (most likely based on Mark’s) does away with any concrete proof that the disciples heard him.

      Allow me to quote from “The Five Gospels; The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus” (page 262): “Jesus’ prayer in the garden was probably composed by Mark for Jesus. No one was present to overhear what Jesus said, since he prayed alone.” Also, on page 120, “Since there were no witnesses, Mark (or the tradition before him) must have imagined what Jesus said. For his part, Matthew (26:39) slightly alters Mark’s version and then composes a second prayer for Jesus (26:42). Luke also modifies Mark’s prayer in his version (22:42). These variations and additions illustrate how loosely the evangelists treated even written discourse, to say nothing of the oral tradition they may have received.”

      As with nearly the entire bible, there are varying viewpoints (from both believers and non-believers) as to what really happened or what someone really meant. As for me, after nearly 20 years of faithfully accepting everything contained within its pages as “truth,” I now harbor far more doubts than certainties based on my extensive reading and research. As you said, we are each free to draw our own conclusions … based on the best evidence available. I guess it all comes down to what one considers “evidence.”

      BTW, I do not doubt the existence of Jesus. I just don’t agree with “the church” that he came to save lost souls through his death on a cross. For me, this was not his mission. I believe he came to deliver a message to the Jews. It wasn’t until Paul (who wrote before the gospels) concocted his personal version of Jesus (to persuade the Gentile population) that he became the “savior” promoted by the gospel writers.

      Finally, I realize you and I are coming from different schools of thought and the odds of either of us changing our minds is slim to none. Nevertheless, I would venture to say such discussions are good exercises and help define and clarify our personal outlooks.

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  4. “Oh my goodness. It looks like we have a discussion on our hands.”

    I hope that is not entirely distasteful to you!? 🙂

    “where in the scripture (as quoted on my blog page) does it say that Jesus “went away to pray for a while”?”

    As I said before, I really don’t understand what you are getting at here. What exactly is your difficulty? The gospels say that he went a little further on (Luke says a stone’s throw) and that he prayed for a time during which the disciples went to sleep. I think Jesus “went away to pray for a while” sums that up quite reasonably. Can you explain where you think that picture is inconsistent, and why?

    “the very fact there are three different versions”

    It seems obvious these are summaries. Someone in great anguish would hardly have prayed such short prayers, and all the disciples could hardly have fallen asleep that quickly. If they are indeed summaries of what they heard, is there any problem?

    “Allow me to quote from “The Five Gospels; The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus””

    As far as I can tell, Robert Funk would not be considered by his peers to be a very reliable scholar these days, and quoting him is very problematic. But let’s take the quote as it stands. The 3 synoptic gospels all say that three of the disciples at least were within earshot, so what basis does he have for saying they weren’t, are you able to say? If the accounts were summaries, why should we accept what Funk says?

    “As with nearly the entire bible, there are varying viewpoints (from both believers and non-believers) as to what really happened or what someone really meant. As for me, after nearly 20 years of faithfully accepting everything contained within its pages as “truth,” I now harbor far more doubts than certainties based on my extensive reading and research.”

    I cannot see why several viewpoints is bad. Yes, I can see that careful reading would lead you to no longer think that the New Testament was without error. But no other knowledge we have (historical, scientific, personal) is without error, yet we get by well enough. Surely the right thing is to begin with the accounts as they stand, guided by the consensus of the best scholars? And that doesn’t necessarily lead to scepticism, but simply a moderate and open-minded rather than a strict and certain faith.

    I was going to ask you before, which authors have influenced you most?

    “I just don’t agree with “the church” that he came to save lost souls through his death on a cross. For me, this was not his mission. I believe he came to deliver a message to the Jews. It wasn’t until Paul (who wrote before the gospels) concocted his personal version of Jesus (to persuade the Gentile population) that he became the “savior” promoted by the gospel writers.”

    We can agree on much of this. The modern church has truncated Jesus’ message. But this realisation doesn’t lead logically (IMO) to your conclusions. Secular scholars like Maurice Casey and Michael Grant believe that Jesus came as a Jewish prophet, but still also conclude that he saw his death as redemptive (I can give you quotes if you like) – the are not in any way mutually exclusive. By rejecting the redemptive death part, you are truncating just as much as the modern church. Let’s keep it all, for they’re both there in the documents. Likewise with Paul: yes, he presented a somewhat truncated version of Jesus’ teachings too, but he didn’t introduce anything new as much as leave some things out.

    “such discussions are good exercises and help define and clarify our personal outlooks”

    I’m glad you see it this way, because I think the same. I rarely try to convince anyone to believe what I believe – I usually simply try to clarify what the evidence is in reality. Thanks for the opportunity.

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    • No, I don’t find this discussion distasteful. Perhaps a bit challenging, but not distasteful. The only time discussions become distasteful is when the participants don’t stay civil. I think you can agree with that.

      I really don’t understand what you are getting at here. What is your difficulty?

      unkleE, it’s not that I’m having difficulty; I’m just going by the scripture. I’m basing my opinion on what it says, not what I “think” happened. Yes, Luke said a stone’s throw, but my posting was from Matthew and based on what he wrote, we simply don’t know how far “a little farther” is. For some (like Luke) it could have been a stone’s throw, but even that expression is arbitrary since the distance can be different for each person.

      It seems obvious these are summaries. Someone in great anguish would hardly have prayed such short prayers, and all the disciples could hardly have fallen asleep that quickly. If they are indeed summaries of what they heard, is there any problem?

      We don’t know they are summaries. Based on scripture alone, all we know is the disciples fell asleep while Jesus prayed. There is no indication of how long he prayed or exactly where he prayed. It goes back to the point I tried to make in my last posting about people trying to explain what “really” happened — not just in this instance but throughout the bible. As I noted in my book, a good example is in Ezekiel (28:1-19) where many believers are certain the prophet is writing about Satan, even though it’s clear in verse 12 that he writing about the king of Tyre. But that’s a discussion for another time. 😉

      It would be difficult for me to quantitatively say which authors have influenced me the most. I did so much research for my book (58 books, along with numerous websites) that it’s difficult to pinpoint any one writer. Moreover, I don’t agree with everything any one scholar says so I hesitate naming names. However, I do like the works of Borg, Ehrman, Laughlin, Paine, Sanders, Spong, and Wylen. Probably the two writers that left the biggest impression on my current beliefs are Freke and Gandy, who wrote “The Jesus Mysteries.” I’m certain few believers would accept their theories, but for me, they made perfect sense.

      BTW, Michael Grant is another author I had never heard of; however, I did a little reading on him at Vridar.wordpress.com, where there are several quotes from Grant’s book. One thing Grant wrote that stood out to me was this:

      [I]f we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus’ existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.

      IMO, the bible (and especially the New Testament) is not historical as most people understand the use of the word (i.e. factual). Rather, it is, as Spong says, a “narrative of the journey our religious forebears made in the eternal human quest to understand life, the world, themselves, and God” (from Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism). It is highly subjective in that the authors were telling us how they saw things. They were describing their experiences, beliefs, and views about the world in which they lived.

      One last thing … as I indicated previously, I do not see Jesus as portrayed by the gospel writers; thus, I cannot agree with any scholars who see his death as redemptive. For me, they are being influenced by traditional Christian beliefs.

      I think we may have exhausted this discussion. Care to comment on any of my other postings? 😉

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  5. “I think we may have exhausted this discussion.”
    OK, I’ll try to wind things up.

    “I don’t find this discussion distasteful. Perhaps a bit challenging, but not distasteful. The only time discussions become distasteful is when the participants don’t stay civil. I think you can agree with that.”
    Yes, I was just joking. I agree with you.

    “it’s not that I’m having difficulty; I’m just going by the scripture. I’m basing my opinion on what it says, not what I “think” happened. Yes, Luke said a stone’s throw, but my posting was from Matthew and based on what he wrote, we simply don’t know how far “a little farther” is.”
    But that is my problem – I can’t see what point you are making and why this is important to a discussion of the reliability of the NT. Sure, we don’t know how far “a little farther” is, but (1) it doesn’t matter (we don’t know what species of grass he walked on either), (2) it is unlikely he walked a long way, and (3) Luke confirms what we would infer logically from Matthew. I honestly cannot see any valid point from all you have said here, and I’m curious as much as disagreeing – what does it demonstrate?

    “I do like the works of Borg, Ehrman, Laughlin, Paine, Sanders, Spong, and Wylen. Probably the two writers that left the biggest impression on my current beliefs are Freke and Gandy, who wrote “The Jesus Mysteries.””
    This list is very revealing. Because I want to base my conclusions on the best evidence, I try to read a wide range of scholars and other writers, from Strobel & Blomberg on the christian side to Funk & Spong. But in forming my conclusions, I rely most on scholars who are most respected by their peers, Wright, Bauckham, Evans, Dickson, Keener on the christian side and Sanders, Ehrman, Casey, Grant, Vermes on the non-believing side. If I come to a view somewhere in the middle of that group, I can feel as certain as I can be that it is a reasonable evidence-based view.

    But your range is from the sceptical side of that group (Ehrman, Sanders) through to the extreme sceptical end. I have not read Wylen but he seems to be a good scholar, though as a Rabbi he is likely (like Vermes) to be on the critical side of NT studies. Borg is lovely person but a very liberal christian. I’m not sure who you mean by “Laughlin”, and if you mean Thomas Paine then he was a deist, not a NT scholar and so old that his “scholarship” would be hopelessly out of date. Spong is not a scholar either.

    But most telling is your choice of Freke and Gandy as your biggest influence. They are not recognised NT scholars, their methods and conclusions have been strongly criticised and I haven’t read any scholar who respects them. For example:

    Atheist historian Richard Carrier says of Freke & Gandy’s book: “I absolutely do not want you to buy it: it will disease your mind with rampant unsourced falsehoods and completely miseducate you about the ancient world and ancient religion”.

    Bart Ehrman mentions the “shortcomings” of their book, and this website summarises the shortcomings Ehrman sees.

    This review by a christian historian also discusses its weaknesses.

    So you do not appear to have used a balanced selection of scholars, and your strongest influence is badly discredited. Yet you write a blog and a book which you say presents history, when most historians believe much of it is quite spurious history. How do you feel about that?

    I’m sorry if that sounds rude, but there is no way I know of to say it any softer.

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    • My “point” is that so many people “read into” the scriptures what they want to see … or what they have been told by Christian leaders. When taken literally, the scripture in Matthew simply does not indicate any of the things you’ve mentioned. In its simplest form, Jesus prayed, the disciples slept.

      I named the authors that have influenced me since leaving the church. This does not mean I’m a neophyte when it comes to knowledge about the Christian faith. I’ve always loved to read and research and it was no different when I was a Christian. In fact, I feel fairly certain I read many more Christian-related books than the average believer. I was not simply a Sunday pew-warmer. I knew what I believed and why, although I can now see that much of that was influenced by what I was taught.

      As I began to drift away, the books I read were not so much anti-Christian as they were “spiritual.” I guess the book that really started me on the path I’m on today was “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsh and his “What Does God Want?” As my faith in Christianity continued to fade, I began to read books by authors that had a more critical (as characterized by careful evaluation and judgment) view of the faith and, as you put it, the more “sceptical” ones. For me, their perspective made so much more sense.

      Probably one of the first books I read when I became serious about becoming an author was “Remedial Christianity” by Paul Alan Laughlin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Otterbein College in Ohio. He teaches Comparative Religions and American Religious History. He is also an ordained minister. There was very little in his book that I didn’t agree with and it was from there that I began to expand my library … and my knowledge about Christianity from the “other side.”

      Freke and Gandy may not be members of the “respected” community of NT scholars, and they may make some unsubstantiated claims but what they said about Paul, in particular, totally resonated with me and that’s why I named them. Yes, their outlook is definitely off the wall based on traditional Christian belief, but maybe that’s why I liked it. 😉

      Have you read my book? Until you do, I don’t feel you can make the statement that it contains “spurious history.” Perhaps the resources I used were not up to your standards, but that doesn’t give you reason to say what you did. I have done some investigation into the scholars you support and don’t entirely agree with their perspectives, but I would never criticize you for relying on their viewpoints. As I stated before, we’re coming from different places so let’s simply agree to disagree.

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  6. “Jesus prayed, the disciples slept.”
    Yeah, I’m happy with that. It was you who raised the question: “What I have never been able to figure out is how did the gospel writer know what Jesus prayed if the disciples were asleep the entire time?” I was just pointing out that there were simple and obvious answers to this question.

    “Freke and Gandy may not be members of the “respected” community of NT scholars, and they may make some unsubstantiated claims but what they said about Paul, in particular, totally resonated with me and that’s why I named them.”
    Nevertheless, their claims are almost entirely rejected and refuted, or not even taken seriously by the vast majority of scholars. And that is the view that has made the biggest impression on your beliefs. I would not be happy with that (it is not all that dissimilar to basing one’s views of evolution on a young earth creationist), and I was wondering how you could be happy with it.

    “Have you read my book? Until you do, I don’t feel you can make the statement that it contains “spurious history.” Perhaps the resources I used were not up to your standards, but that doesn’t give you reason to say what you did.”
    I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, but I haven’t read your book, I was simply going by your own statements of the influence Freke & Gandy have had on your beliefs. And virtually all scholars agree their version is “spurious history”. Most people who take an interest in these matters try to base their views on the best understandings of history.

    “let’s simply agree to disagree.”
    Yes, I will drop this conversation now. But I am disappointed, because the Amazon blurb for your book says
    “This book challenges readers to go ‘outside the box’ and investigate the facts behind what they believe. There is no doubt such a venture will be scary. It could mean discovering things that are in direct contrast to teachings that have been part of them for years. At the same time, it could bring about a spiritual awakening.” It seems either you are not interested in the facts after all, or you think you are better able to judge the truth of Freke and Gandy’s book than all the scholars. I cannot see how that can be, for either you or me. I would hope that, being interested in the facts, you would check why Freke & Gandy are not respected just as you want believers to reconsider the Bible.

    But I won’t push the matter any further. Best wishes, and thanks for the discussion.

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  7. You have made some comments in this last posting that greatly disturb me. However, rather than drag this out any further, I will respond to you via email.

    I do appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment. I look forward to more input from you on some of my other postings.

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  8. Hi Nan, thanks. I am sorry that I disturbed you personally, but my aim was to “disturb” or challenge your thinking, nothing more. I truly appreciate your friendliness and open-ness to discussion, and I look forward to checking out your email. Best wishes.

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  9. For that matter, how are any of the quotes (of people talking) in the Bible believable when so much time passed before it was written down? Have you ever played that party game where you sit in a circle and pass a story around from one person to another. By the time the story comes full circle, it’s totally changed. So much for oral tradition.

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    • On top of that, Stephen Wylen (“The Jews in the Time of Jesus,” 1996) wrote that it was common among early writers to write with a story-telling bias, putting words into the mouths of principals to make it more interesting … and to reinforce what they wanted to get across by referencing an important person. As Wylen notes, writers were “expected to have the literary skill to place stirring and appropriate speeches in the mouths of the chief characters at significant moments.”

      Could this not be the case of the writer who “recorded” what took place at the garden of Gethsemane?

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  10. The gospels, as was the custom, were written in a midrashic form. So the surface story sometimes doesn’t make sense. Based on the surface story, your question is a valid one. A better question is who was in heaven to see Jesus ascend into heaven and sit at the right hand of God. Hard to believe that the writer didn’t describe God (would have gotten a Pulitzer Prize for that!). Even more to the point it says in the New Testament that God is spirit and that no man has seen God. So the “surface” story of ascending into heaven doesn’t wash. It’s only when you realize that the titles of Father and God were given to certain men based on their position in the religious order (of Nazarenes) does the real story come into view. Back to your question, the disciples weren’t asleep. It was only an expression used to indicate that the disciples didn’t understand the importance of the moment.

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    • Back to your question, the disciples weren’t asleep. It was only an expression used to indicate that the disciples didn’t understand the importance of the moment.

      Interesting perspective, chicagoja.

      I agree. More often than not, the surface stories definitely don’t make sense! Yet so many take them word-for-word …

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  11. You ask a fair question Nan:

    ‘How could they know if they were asleep?

    The same way that Moses knew ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…………….,’ as the divine blueprint for inspiration, and the resultant conclusion is: the very word of God.

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  12. You’re absolutely right! NO HUMAN was present “in the beginning.” And this brings up the perennial question: how could anyone know what happened? And the same question relates to the sleeping disciples.

    Sorry, I just don’t buy the “divine inspiration” perspective. To me, that’s just an easy out for believers.

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  13. ‘How could any one know what happened?’ Nan, you need to ask this to your self.

    How many years before it happened did Zechariah wrote: ‘thy King cometh unto thee, upon an ass,…………….and upon a colt?’ He did not live to see that, but something greater was necessary:

    FIDELITY to the text.

    Thus putting the onus on God, which is no burden for Him at all.

    The so called ‘triumphal entry,’ was detailed down to the minute by SR Anderson, a brilliant Scottsman, and former sleuth for Scotland Yard. You have gotten ‘help’ from sources outside scripture; did the thought ever cross your mind to get ‘help’ from brilliant minds who can combat the others?

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  14. Never read this discourse before, Nan. Very Interesting.
    As to the question.
    How does any author of fiction ‘know’ anything?

    Ever noticed how unklee is as condescending and smug as Senor Brandon?
    Smarmy git, isn’t he? 🙂
    Unklee is a real fan of the late dear Maurice and his Aramaic gospel theory. Been banging that drum for a long time.
    He loves to play the ”most respected scholar” card all the time.
    It’s amazing though how almost all of the scholars who are Fellows of Westar and were instrumental on the Acts Seminar that are highly qualified biblical scholars, working at respectable institutions all over and have degrees dripping off them.
    Yet, you won’t hear dear Unklee mention any of them. Wonder why not?

    Oh, and as for Colostomy storm.
    Need to scrape him off the sole of your shoe ASAP.
    How do these people actually get out of the asylum?

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  15. Nan, I just saw this today.
    Now somewhere in the good book, when the disciples ask him how they should pray, he tells them to go somewhere hidden and pray quietly because their father in heaven already knows what they want. Why would he blatantly go against this teaching?
    The answer to your earlier question is easy. When you are writing a narrative, you can make up conversations as you go along and that is what I think happened here except the author here didn’t think of internal consistency.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Maybe, the writer was “inspired”, perhaps through divine revelation just like the writer of Genesis who penned the famous words, “Let there be light.” Of course, God spoke those words before man was even created so there was no one there to hear God speak those words. One can’t get too hung up, though, on the exact words used in the gospels because they were written in a midrashic style of writing that was never intended to be taken literally. Specifically, they used what was called a pesher code. What was occurring in Matthew 26 was that people were choosing up sides and Jesus was trying to ensure the support of his own disciples who had torn loyalties to different people. The word “asleep” did not literally mean asleep.

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    • @chicagoja

      You may be right. The word “asleep” doesn’t mean what it says … and the entire scenario has hidden meaning.

      However, most believers tend to read the bible as is. VERY few look at the history of the writings, let alone read any scholarly works on the bible. So while there may be several answers/interpretations of this passage in the scholarly field, when the average person reads the passage as it stands, I believe the core question still remains.

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