The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio, ca. 1602.

According to the Canonical Gospels, after the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples travel to Gethsemane, a garden located at the edge of the Kidron Valley, thought by scholars to probably have been an olive grove. Once there he is described as leaving the group so that he can pray privately.

The synoptics state that Jesus asked God that his burden be taken from him, and requesting not to need to undergo the events that he was due to, though giving the final choice to God. Luke states that an angel appeared and strengthened Jesus, who then returned to his disciples. The synoptics state that the three disciples that were with Jesus had fallen asleep, and that Jesus criticized them for failing to stay awake even for an hour, suggesting that they pray so that they can avoid temptation.

At this point Judas appears on the scene, accompanied by a crowd that includes the Jewish priests and elders and people with weapons. When the band of men enters the garden in search of Jesus, he steps forth and asks them, “Whom seek ye?”. They answer that they were indeed seeking Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus replied and spoke, “I am He”, at which point all members of the arrest party fall back and on the ground.

At this point Judas gives Jesus a kiss, as a pre-arranged sign to those that had accompanied Judas as to who Jesus was. Having been identified, the crowd arrests Jesus, although one of Jesus’ disciples tries to stop them by using a sword to cut off the ear of one of the men in the crowd.[2][3] The Gospel of John specifies that it had been Simon Peter who had cut off the ear of Malchus, a servant of Caiaphas, the high priest.[2][3] Luke adds that Jesus healed the wound. John, Matthew, and Luke state that Jesus criticized the violent act, insisting that they do not resist Jesus’ arrest. In Matthew, Jesus makes the well known statement: all who live by the sword, shall die by the sword.

Judas making a bargain with the priests, depicted by Duccio, early 14th century.

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