They left for a place called Gethsemane and he told his disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” (Mark 14:32)
Who was Jesus praying to?
Sectarian teachers today like to claim that Jesus is God. If Jesus is God, who was he praying to? Did Jesus go to a secluded spot and pray to himself? Did he say to himself, "I am just pretending to pray because I myself am God"? Or did he just pretend to pray but really he was just thinking, "I will pretend to pray so they think there is someone besides me."
Be serious. Jesus didn't pray to himself. Nor did he pretend to pray in order to give people a false impression of his devotion.
Jesus did actually pray to the Supreme Being. And no, Jesus is not the Supreme Being.
Jesus is not God.
We know this because Jesus prayed to the Supreme Being. According to Mark, Jesus prayed:
“Abba – LORD, everything is possible for You – please let this cup be taken from me – yet not what pleases me but what pleases You.” (Mark 14:36)With this prayer, Jesus is obviously praying to someone else - someone besides Jesus. In other words, there are two people involved in his prayer: "Me" and "You."
The "You" is the Supreme Being - God - Abba - which is the Aramaic term for God. Jesus is praying to someone who is different from himself. He is also praying to someone who is obviously far above Jesus in stature and position.
Otherwise, Jesus would not be desiring to do God's will and not do his own will.
If Jesus was God, his will would automatically be God's will. Right? Rather, Jesus was asking that his will be synchronized with God's will. This is what a loving servant does: He wants to serve the one he loves.
Jesus prayed in seclusion
Notice that Jesus is asking his disciples to wait somewhere while he steps away from them and prays in private. He did not stand before them and pray in front of them. Jesus wasn't making a show of prayer. He was not trying to prove to anyone his devotion to the Supreme Being.
This didn't happen only once. This was a pattern with Jesus. For example:
In the morning he rose early before sunrise and went to a solitary place to pray. (Mark 1:35)
After he had sent them away, he departed to a mountain to pray. (Mark 6:46)We can see from these verses that Jesus frequently left his followers to pray in private.
This means that Jesus did precisely what he taught his students to do with regard to prayer:
"And when you pray, do not do what the hypocrites do, for they like to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so they may be seen by others. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your closet and shut the door, and pray to your LORD privately; and your LORD who sees what is done privately shall reward you openly." (Matthew 6:5-6)Jesus was simply practicing what he preached. Jesus prayed in private. He did not make a show of praying to God in order to look devoted. Rather, he prayed privately to God.
Why Jesus prayed privately
Yes, Jesus could have stood in front of his congregation as sectarian teachers do today and made an open prayer in front of the congregation. But he didn't. Why not?
The answer isn't just because Jesus wanted to practice what he preached. Rather, the answer is because Jesus had an intimate and personal loving relationship with God.
Just imagine a woman who has a very intimate loving relationship with a man. Does the woman stand up at work and read out her personal love letters at work? Does she share intimate details about what they do in the privacy of their home on facebook or otherwise in the public media?
No. Why? Because they have a close intimate and personal relationship that they consider private. They don't proclaim their intimate relationship details to the public because they treasure what they share.
This is how personal relationships work. There is a private bond between the people of the relationship. They keep the details of their relationship private because they treasure that relationship.
God has a unique relationship with each of us
The Supreme Being enjoys unlimited relationships with His various children. This means that each of us have a unique relationship with God. Yes, there are common relationship roles. But within those roles, each person has a slightly different relationship with God.
Jesus also enjoyed a unique relationship with God. In fact, this is the source of the terminology that many have translated and interpreted as Jesus being the "only Son of God."
The original Greek translation to "only son of God" (or "only begotten son") is incorrect, and contradicts other Biblical verses such as:
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal [fn]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:2-4)
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (Job 1:6)
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Jon 2:1)
When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7)
“nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)And Jesus himself said:
"Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9)These verses contradict the notion of Jesus as the sole or only son of God. This doctrine, that Jesus is the sole son of God was made up and put forth by the Roman-controlled Roman-Catholic Church in order to create a monopoly on religion (so they could control the early Christian world).
As evidenced above, such an interpretation also contradicts several clear verses in the Bible indicating that "son of God" actually refers to someone who is a committed and devoted servant of God (from the Greek word huios which means, "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower, pupil," according to the Lexicon).
The Greek word that supposely translates to "only" in "only son of God" is μονογενής ("monogenes"). This word can mean "sole" within some contexts, but according to scholars, it's more literal translation is "unique," "priceless" or "irreplaceable."
Furthermore, the Septuagint word meaning “only” or “solitary” is μονοτροπος. This would differentiate from the word μονογενής used with son of God.
Also, μονογενής has been translated to "unique" or "incomparable" in the Hebrew Wisdom of Solomon (7:22), written in Alexandria around 100 B.C.
In Greek classics, we find μονογενής used to describe someone who is "unique" in a poem written by the Greek Parmenides in the Fifth Century B.C. (Frag. 8.3-4). These uses show the translation of this word within its historical context.
This is also consistent with the manner in which Jesus prayed. Jesus enjoyed a special (incomparable, priceless, unique) private loving relationship with the Supreme Being. This is why Jesus prayed to God privately.
This is also why Jesus worked so hard to please the Supreme Being during his life. Because he loved God. This was so important to Jesus that it was also his most important teaching:
“The most important of all the instructions is, ‘Hear O Israel – the LORD our God is our only Lord – and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ – this is the most important instruction." (Mark 12:29-30)