The passage gives a detailed account of how Jesus was strengthened by the angels in the garden of Gethsemane. The agony he suffered and the bloody sweat which proceeded until his crucifixion. Many manuscripts have added the verses and a good number of others have deleted the verses. The dispute arose on whether the verses should be part of the texts of the gospel of Luke or not. The Greek New Testament editions and the bible commentators have their mouths gagged on the issue.
The good news is that most of the evidence of the manuscripts is mostly reported to contain inaccuracies in line with the key manuscripts presented by scholars. The verses are omitted and included at the margin. The Raymonds brown book adds on textual ground that the authenticity of the verses may be outweighed by this evidence since the verses are destined to be omitted. In what it may be seen as misprint in his text of the variant, Bart Ehrman while listing his manuscripts fails to include the verses. In light of the significance of Bodmer Papyrus, thus this is an unlucky.
It is generally understood that the evidence of the manuscript is not enough though leaning towards the omission of verses. It is believed that the omission of verses has strong support of the manuscripts which is considered to be important. This includes the earliest witnesses of papyri. On the contrary massive support to have the verses remain is witnessed. This includes manuscript of the original hand of the Alexandrian, western and traditions of the Caeserian. The evidence presented by the manuscripts is not enough to defend the case since it is mostly pronounced.
The case has been similar here; discussions have been going on ,on the choices of vocabulary and the manner of verses. Some are arguing whether the language to be used should Lukan or not. The outcome again is not bringing out a clear decision. However, some already agree that vocabulary and Lukan possess positive correlation. It is possible for one to point out that certain words can only be seen once in Mathew and Mark and 13 times in Luke and Acts. In Luke 1, 11 verbatim can be seen and also can be witnessed in Acts 9, 19 and other parts of the New Testament are paralleled in the book of Acts 12, 5.
Due to the possibility of not coming up with a solution to solve the problem the likes of Brun and Ehrman have resolved that angels only appear at the narrative of birth and resurrection. Hence they are not paralleled anywhere in Luke and Acts and that anywhere else are not muted. Those on the opposing side could not hesitate to point out that the phrase as a whole could be rather unusual and could be paralleled in itself in Luke 17, 19; 21, 11. More over, separating the narratives of birth and resurrection from the work of Luke are too obvious for anyone to neglect. It should be noted that though the angels seem to be paralleled they are not witnessed anywhere speaking or saying anything.
It could be debated that the story needed the use of words that had not been used anywhere else. Luke is known to have been well versed with lots of vocabularies. Brun in his bid of defending the authenticity of the verses believes that Luke was providing a substitute material.
The probability of the evidence at the end is not conclusive. Even though Brown justifies that the style and vocabulary applied in the passage can only be identified with Luke and not any other author in the New Testament. To make more moves we need to put into consideration the major issues of exegesis and how they relate with inclusion or non-inclusion of verses. In the recent past a case had been launched against Ehrman for omitting other verses from Luke.Ehrman inclusion of the verses was based on the concerns of the second century.
The writer Luke creates parallelism to solve the problem brought out by the various misunderstanding on the interpretation of particular words used in the passage by Luke. He creates a relation of the story of His foremost figures such as Paul, Peter and Stephen in the book of Acts. The possibility of these to offer a solution is not very clear, but this is a bit more similar to that expressed in Luke 22, 43-44. It can be observed that the temptation of Jesus to the extend of Him being agonized and sweat similar to blood to leave His intention but comes out a winner ready to even pass away in Jerusalem, consequently to Paul is tempted even after his heart has been crushed, as it can be read in Acts. Here Paul is viewed as not likely to do as expected by God but yet he undergoes the same process and comes out like Jesus as winner, and there the hecklers like those in the time of Jesus repeat the insults that acceded Jesus to the divine spirit.
The other parallelism emerges from the book of Acts 27 verse 23 through 24. This is noticeable between the wrecking of Paul's ship and the passion of Jesus. As Paul was in the ship he is observed to have been taking food and similarly Jesus is observed at the last Supper in the book of Acts 27, 35. The outcome of the ship wreck is that all are saved, Acts 27,45. Thus it may be obvious that Paul was visited by an angel who gave him the might, calm and maintained him in what he was passing through. The parallelism in this can be related to that of Luke where the angel provided strength as can be read out in Luke 22, 43.
The relationship between the story of Jesus and that of Paul, Peter and Stephen in the book of Acts portrays a clear indication of being parallels. Therefore what Paul undergoes tells us of how obedient he is to the Gods' will, and how the angel supports him may as well be part of the parallelism created by Luke in the gospel of Jesus and the account of the heroes in the book of Acts. This however supports the fact that the strengthening of Jesus by the angel and Jesus being sorrowful in Gethsemane is a legitimate element of the gospel of Luke.
The secondary deletion from the wider original text or the addition to the shorter original text is not clear. However the way in which the passage in Luke is presented goes back to 2nd century where the fathers of the church were in argument over Jesus' humanity. The addition of verses therefore is part of the orthodox scheme in the 2nd century to curb Docetism.
This has the advantage to link the purported change with the needs of the period in question and the application of the passage mentioned. Even so the dispute is utterly probative. The exhibit would be a simple explanation of the text curved from part of the book of Luke. In the past people have argued that the opposition of Luke over docetic type view may be purposeful. For instance the story of Jesus' resurrection, that it is not an imagination neither He is a spirit but a human being with bones and flesh, Luke 24, 39. The interests of Luke therefore may not have much variance from those of an Irenaeus or Justin.
Many have proposed varied reasons as to why omissions or addition of verses have been done secondarily. For instance many might have viewed the story of Jesus submissive to an angel; it may have also been seen to jeopardize the mysticism of Jesus. We understand the Celsus' show of aggression, from Origen, towards Christianity claim about the mysticism of Jesus directed to the flaw of Jesus in Gethsemane. It is possible therefore that the verses were omitted by scribes with orthodox conviction who were nervous to safeguard the character of Jesus and standing in the front of attack by who were fighting him like those expressed by celsus.
The key words
Here the key words in the passage are explained and how the words are used in other parts of the bible. This will be in the books of Mark, John and Luke.
The passion of Luke's narrative in substituting dereliction of Mark's hopeless cry, "my God, why have you forsaken me?"(Mark 15, 34), with words showing confidence of the highest order, "into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23, 46). The same technique of narration is witnessed when Luke curves out the characteristics of Mark and says that Jesus was not fit mentally. By so doing he deletes the notes that described Jesus as being "distressed and agitated" (Mark 14, 33) for "deeply grieved, even to death" (Mark 14, 34). It can be noticed that Jesus' prayer in Mark 14, 35 has been omitted. Luke also is seen not portraying Jesus in anguish as Mark does.
An exegesis can also be traced to extend to the book of John where he is making the request of Jesus as a total sham. This is in the book of John 21, 27. In the book of John Jesus pauses a question on whether he will be saved on that time and goes a head and answers the same question with lot more confidence that it was purposely for that particular hour that was already at hand. The Jesus of Johannine has never requested to be exempted of the passion that was ahead of him. In the books of Luke and Mark Jesus does makes a request. However, by showing respect to the high authority of the divine will he does qualify the request as the Jesus of Mark does. A notable difference can be witnessed between the Markan Jesus and the Lukan Jesus and on the other hand the Johannine Jesus where an agonized Jesus and Jesus who is highly confident. This cannot be between the Lukan and Markan Jesus alone.
Besides the exegesis of the context of Luke, there exists an exegesis of the verses in dispute. This is especially the Greek word that has been transliterated to mean agony in English. This thus labels the whole situation as Agony in the Garden. This brings in suspicion to anyone like the one witnessed above of Jesus undergoing agony that needed him to seek the help of a dissident of a supernatural kind or displayed to be in heart wreathing and in deep agony. This however can be viewed to be portraying a danger of neglecting other understanding of words of Greek origin and neglecting the words that come after the notes on Jesus being strengthened by the angel.
In the past it is understood that Neyrey has discussed in the past and brought the different meaning of the same words that have been mentioned earlier in relation to the passage. He points out the downside of displaying grief in other writings and in stoic as the soul haters who are in war with passion. This is the reason why he is arguing that Luke curved out the proposals in Mark of what Jesus was going through and rather ascribes the same to the disciples as given out in the book of Luke 22, 45. He notes that the disciples are a sleep due to the fact that they too sorrowful, Mark 14, 37. However it is observed in philosophical discourse and others that the war of the soul and its enemies is a contest. As such it may not bring out the meaning as agony but rather as strive where the warring parties are prepared and on high alert to participate. In the book of Luke 22, 45, portrays Jesus has not being desperate and with great mental anguish but however He is viewed as being ready for conflict and a contest that was a head of him.
The Neyrey understanding of agony as used in Luke still remains questionable. The same word however is used by Luke in 18, 23 to mean that He was deeply sorrowful. Neither does he express agony as an enemy Jesus is fighting in the battle or in the contest. This rather should not be taken to mean that the word should be omitted. Though it lacks logic it should be understood that Jesus being sorrowful happens after He had been strengthened by the angel. Jesus therefore cannot be agony instigated by the angel. The act of the angel places Jesus in a state of terror and anguish in the traditional view.
The long text therefore perhaps imply that there is change on the side of Jesus as you read verse 42, verse 43 and 44. Moreover the similarity between the agony of English and Greek may not be important if not misguiding. Thus in verse 42 Jesus is still seen as passing through mixed state of faith and doubt. In this verse also part of Jesus' prayer is being replied when the angel comes where he gives him strength in verse 43. As such He is a state of preparedness for the war that is approaching: he is sorrowful and as such he sweated drops of blood. Bearing that in mind it may look as if the wider text which deserves the general way of things in Luke as that with no problems, if not really good. The passion narrative of Luke is not intrusively theological as a whole if carefully analyzed.
In the gospel of Luke, Luke as presented Jesus as often in control, calm and always confident in the will of God to the very last moment. He suffered and became an example to his later followers. Jesus perseverance sends a lesson to his followers who will come after Him that no matter what situation they pass, God is still with them. And like Jesus and other heroes who have come before Him they too will emerge victorious if they maintain close relationship with God.
It is quite possible that what Jesus has been going through at this time is part of the expectation of the people of these community. Jesus strongly comes out to spread the gospel in an environment where He is vehemently rejected. Those who claim to know more about Jesus background and the bible teachings undermine Jesus to the point of subjected Him to a scheme to have Him killed.
However, Jesus demonstrates his relationship with God by trusting Him all through from the time of persecution to the time He is crucified. He is seen praying most of the time. He is crucified and later resurrects from the place of the death. This is a clear indication of the close relationship between him and God and that the same way Jesus is resurrected we too shall be resurrected in the last day.