Who witnessed Jesus' agony in the garden?


In today’s passion narrative, when Jesus was praying in the garden, it says that the apostles were all asleep. So who recorded or remembered what Jesus said and did?


It must have been the Lord himself who shared more details with his apostles, as he was with them several times after His Resurrection.

Also, Judas betrayed him with a kiss in the garden. By that time the apostles would have awakened, as that is when Peter cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. Our Lord’s bloody sweat was probably seen by them.


Along with other biblical stories with no witnesses, I also wondered about who exactly witnessed Jesus’ agony in the garden.


Well, this starts with the creation accounts in Genesis chapter one.

  • Jesus’s encounter with the devil in the desert
  • Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well
  • Jacob wrestles with an angel
  • the annunciation of Mary
  • the wedding feast of Cana (? - most of the people there didn’t know what happened)
  • John’s gospel, the “signs” was John a witness to all this? or did he collect accounts like Luke said (if I remember correctly)


John 16:13-14


Richard Bauckham makes a compelling case in his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses that the young man would later be identified in Patristic literature as John the Elder, who Bauckham thinks was the writer of the Gospel of John and a bearer of direct testimony concerning the life and words of Jesus to people like Papias at the end of the first century. Bauckham argues for an relatively early writing of the Gospel of John.

He claims that John was a disciple of Jesus but not to be identified as the Apostle John. He may have been the young man in Mark who ran away naked after the cohort tried to seize him. As not a member of the inner circle, he could have been in the garden following at a distance.

If you haven’t read Bauckham’s book, it is very enlightening concerning why some individuals were named in some Gospel depictions but remained anonymous in others even though the same incident is being related. He uses this feature to arrive at a fairly solid theory concerning the dating and origin of each Gospel.

He also uses frequency of names as they appear in the Gospels to argue for early authorship.

I would strongly recommend Bauckham’s book to anyone interested in a solidly researched look into the whole area of how we can be certain about the events in the Gospels and how the testimonies were carried forward after the events themselves.


Thanks, I will check out that book


Since the Holy Spirit inspired the authors of the Gospels then likely the Holy Spirit revealed that through the divine revelation.


Thanks, I will check out that book




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