WHAT DISTANCE IS “A STONE’S CAST?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
In Luke 22:41, we read of the Lord Jesus Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal and arrest: “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,….” Exactly how far is “a stone’s cast?”
Various and sundry definitions exist, but we can begin by establishing two simple rules of interpretation. Firstly, it basically means how far one can throw (cast) a stone. Of course, this is rather vague, as the size of the stone and strength of the thrower greatly influence the final distance. Secondly, we appeal to other verses for enlightenment. Matthew records it as: “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed…” (26:39). Mark’s version reads like this: “And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that,…” (14:35). Scripture twice delineates a “stone’s cast” as “a little” distance.
The precise physical space between Jesus and His three Apostles (Peter, James, and John) does not matter, since the Holy Spirit did not provide an exact measurement. One final comment we can make is Jesus was likely praying within earshot—that is, He was close enough for them to hear Him praying. After all, He encouraged them to pray with Him. “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-41).