A: According to Mark's Gospel, Jesus went with Peter and James and John to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray. His disciples, Peter, James and John, fell asl…eep. "Could you not watch one hour?" Jesus asked. The process was repeated two more times. The disciples could not watch one, two or three hours. These time intervals are so precise and fit into Mark's sequence for the last twenty four hours in the life of Jesus, that the story is not so much about the disciples sleeping but about counting out the time interval between 9 o'clock and midnight, when Jesus was betrayed. Mark breaks up the last twenty four hours into eight intervals of exactly three hours each: .
We start with the Last Supper, which began "when it was evening" (Mark 14:17), or when the sun went down: approximately 6 pm. .
Mark knew that the duration of the Passover meal was three hours and that it concluded with the singing of a hymn, so the first thing Jesus did was to sing a hymn with his disciples. Then Mark says, "And when they had sung a hymn they went out to the Mount of Olives". It was about 9 p.m. .
Mark then has Jesus and the disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray. It was here that the disciples were not able to remain awake. "Could you not watch one hour?" Jesus asked. The process was repeated two more times. The disciples could not watch one, two or three hours. It was now midnight. .
The act of betrayal, the darkest deed in human history, came next, occurring at the stroke of midnight. .
At 3:00 a.m., Jesus was led away for a trial before the high priest and other senior priests and elders. This governing body then judged him, on the basis of his messianic claim, to be worthy of death. .
The watch of the night between 3 am and 6 am was called cockcrow. Peter's threefold denial of Jesus, once each hour until the cock crowed, marked the end of that phase of the night. That makes it 6 am. .
"As soon as it was morning", which would be 6 am, Jesus was led by the chief priests, scribes and elders to Pontius Pilate for judgement. .
"It was the third hour when they crucified him," that is, 9 o'clock. .
When "the sixth hour had come" (12 noon), darkness covered the whole earth, reflecting the betrayal at 12 midnight. .
After three hours of darkness, at 3 p.m., Jesus cried out and gave up the ghost. .
Joseph of Arimathea then asked Pilate for the body of Jesus, so that he could be buried before the Sabbath began. Jesus was buried in the final period from 3 to 6 pm, before the sun went down. This is a chiastic structure in which the first set of four period is mirrored in the second set. Between 9 and 12 in the evening, Jesus agonised in Gethsemene while the disciples were spiritually absent in sleep. Between 9 and 12 the next morning, Jesus suffered on the cross while the disciples were absent. The later gospels, now known to have been dependent on this account, blur Mark's chronological order, which their authors did not see as important. John's Gospel omits the passage in which Jesus prays and agonises in Gethsemane and then has the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross, but Mark makes it clear that those of Jesus acquaintance watched from afar. ( Full Answer )