Good morning! Have you ever been in a situation where you are too tired to think or do anything, but sleep? Or have you ever tried to stay up to watch a movie or wait for someone, and before you know it you dozed off? Well that is something Peter, James and John struggled with in an olive grove called Gethsemane. Join me as we continue reading Matthew chapter 26.
36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” – Matthew 26:36-41 NLT
Jesus took three disciples – James, John and Peter with him. We know why he didn’t take Judas Iscariot, but have you ever asked why didn’t he take the other eight? My assumption is that these were the three he could rely on to pray with Him at his greatest need, in his deepest grief.
While Jesus was with trusted friends/disciples, he knew he needed to go to the Father with his sorrows. Although his spirit was willing, his flesh was still uneasy about what was ahead for him. Jesus’ cried out to His/Our Father and submitted “your will to be done, not mine.” Even so, when Jesus returned his three friends were asleep. Jesus didn’t call them all out, but he did call out Peter – as we read yesterday, “33 Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” 35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” Jesus didn’t dismiss them, he simply said keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation.
Sisters and brothers, there are key words in these verses:
- While we have good and trusted friends we can call on in our time of need, remember they are not God and should not be put in a position as God or authority over our lives, we need to go to the Father in prayer.
- There will be times when we have to experience painful things, but God will give us the strength to endure them all.
- No matter what is going on around you, keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation.
Father God, thank you for today. Thank you for a fresh look at these verses and for reminding us that you had a time of need. Lord, thank you for persevering unto death. Lord, thank you for what you did on the cross, rising again – conquering sin and death. No words can express our gratitude for saving us. Lord, while we are here on earth and awaiting your return or for you to call us home, Lord strengthen our faith. Help us to call on you first. Lord, put other Christian brothers and sisters in our lives who will pray with us and encourage us at our time of need. Lord, help us not to hold others to the standards that only you can keep. Lord, remind us to watch and pray, and trust you and your plan for our lives. Lord, forgive us for the times we have denied you or your plans. Lord, help is to do all the things you have called us to do. Teach us your ways. Change us. In Jesus name, amen.
Keep seeking! Keep trusting! Keep praying!
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