The Sleepy, The Selfish and the Steadfast
Daily Reading and Devotional from the Gospels
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. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, 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. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
The night in the garden when Jesus agonized over the suffering he was about to endure he wanted his disciples to be there for him. I understand that. Even when I know there is nothing others can do to ease my pain or anxiety I reach out. Just yesterday I had some internal struggles with a difficult responsibility and reached out to a friend. I am glad I had a friend to listen. Jesus had no one to turn to that night in Gethsemane. They were asleep. He had told them his soul was exceedingly sorrowful but still they slept. “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?”, he asked Peter that night. I often whisper those words to myself as I look at some of the heavy eyed, sleepy congregants that are enduring my preaching. “What, can’t you stay awake for thirty minutes?” These disciples of Jesus that were not there for him that night in the garden are among the very ones he will suffer and die for in the hours ahead. He prayed, “Let this cup pass from me…” alone, but he didn’t want it that way. He went ahead with the bitter cup in spite of their lack of support. They were not the best of friends and yet he still proved himself the greatest of friends to them. Lest I forget, he knew that I would too often prove unfaithful and yet he still suffered for me. I want to become that faithful. I want to be obedient in spite of others, in spite of circumstances, just like my Lord taught me that day. He was motivated by the Father’s will repeating at least three times,”…thy will be done”. What a contrast his prayer is to the words of the devil that brought his fall. We read in Isaiah 14:12-14 that he repeated, “I will” five times. Old Lucifer will try to get you to follow his example and make your own determinations without consulting the Lord. He will try to refocus your plans in response to people and the predicaments around you. Jesus is the better example, let’s be like him and say to the Father, “not my will but thy will be done.”