I believe that the first thing we need to understand is that this scene is recorded in the Scripture, and that the Scripture, the Word of God is inspired of God, by the Holy Spirit, and is true and infallible.  We read in II Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness….”.  The Bible is “inspired, God-breathed”, whether Old Testament or New, whether the message is historical, doctrinal or prophetic.  The words and indeed the men who wrote the words are inspired of God, and this in fact is fundamental to our faith. How the Holy Spirit gave the words to Matthew, Mark, and Luke I do not know.  I do know that neither he, nor Mark nor Luke, the three Gospel writers who recorded this scene were within a stone’s throw of the Lord Jesus at Gethsemane, and in fact, neither Mark nor Luke were there at all. Peter, James, and John were the ones that the Lord brought with him into the Garden, who were asked to pray and wait while He went on “a little further” to pray. I believe that these three were quite near the Lord Jesus as he prayed, and in that quiet garden, with the Lord Jesus praying in earnest, they could certainly have heard His words, and this record would have been shared among the disciples. But however, it happened, we know that the Holy Spirit inspired the writers with the “God-breathed” words that were recorded, and all three accounts were in precise agreement.  Paul writes, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth…,” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).

Now, as to this portion you reference in Matthew 26:39, we read beginning in verse 36, “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt”.

Gethsemane was a garden on the Mount of Olives where the Lord Jesus often went with His disciples to pray. On the night that the Lord Jesus was betrayed, He led the disciples to this garden, and left 8 of them back a way, and took Peter, James and John with Him a distance further into the garden. These three disciples were to be close to the Lord during this time of earnest prayer, as the Lord Jesus anticipated the bitter cup of wrath that would be His at the cross.  In Mark 14:33 we read nearly the very same words.  The account of Luke seems to record this slightly differently, but actually, I believe that the details are the same, though the Word emphasizes different aspects of this scene: “And he was withdrawn from them (the disciples) about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed…, (Luke 22:41). I believe He was a stone’s cast from the 8 disciples, and the account of Peter, James and John is not highlighted here.

In any case, the larger question here might be, why did the Lord Jesus want us to hear His prayer?  I believe that the Lord Jesus wanted the disciples and all of us to understand why it was He needed to go to the cross.  In verse 39 of Matthew 26, He prayed, “…O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt”. At the Jordan River when the Lord Jesus was baptized, we read that the voice of God gave testimony to His Son from heaven.  In a similar way, at the mount of transfiguration, God’s voice again identified Jesus as His beloved Son.  But on this night in Gethsemane, there was no response from above, as God’s Son cried out His prayer whether the cup might pass from Him.  This cup, which the Lord Jesus anticipated was full of the wrath of God over sin, and this cup could not pass from the Lord Jesus, otherwise ruined sinners like you and me could never be saved. This prayer of the Lord Jesus was revealed to us by the Holy Spirit for our benefit, that we might know and understand that it was God’s will for His Son that He go to the cross.  If there had been any other way for ruined man to be saved, God would have responded with another way; but there was not. The Lord Jesus came into the world to save sinners (I Timothy 1: 15, and this means He must go to that cross, and drink fully of that cup of God’s wrath on our behalf. We read in 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Propitiation means that God’s anger over our sin was appeased through Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary; as the Lord Jesus bowed His head, shed His blood and died on that cross, He defeated sin, death and hell, and threw open the gates of heaven wide for all who might believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  And so, my dear friend, do you believe on the Lord Jesus? “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…, “ (Acts 16:31).  (390.1)  (SF)