In Matthew 26:36-47, Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
I was thinking, Jesus had just finished telling His disciples that they will all reject Him and scatter, for it even says they will in the Scriptures. They all denied it and insisted they wouldn’t. I believe that this event at Gethsemane may have not only led up to Jesus’ arrest, but also the start of their denial.
God planned everything from the start and knows all that will happen. I wonder though, what would have happened if they had stayed awake and prayed? Would they still have fulfilled their denials? It’s interesting also how, just after they all swore not to deny Jesus, they disobeyed Him by falling asleep. Why wouldn’t they pray? Also, did they fall asleep because they weren’t praying, or were they not praying because they fell asleep? Or did they fall asleep while praying?
Jesus even gave them 3 chances to pray, so I wonder if this time may have been crucial for them all.
Now, I’ll admit, I can be a little slow at times, but Jesus just finished telling them what was going to happen:
- They just denied His words / prophecy
- Why didn’t they pray for it?
- “The spirit is willing, yet the body is weak.”
- Their falling asleep also represented their future denial
When Jesus said that He was scared, “even to the point of death”, He wasn’t being a drama queen. Jesus was terrified! Scared to death, scared as hell!
I once visited a friend’s dad who was dying in the ICU. My friend asked me to pray for him and I did. Unfortunately, he died the next day. But ever since then, my friend continues to thank me for praying for his dad, for it not only brought peace to his dad, but also to him. See, similarly with Jesus, the prayer didn’t change the events that were to take place, but it did bring peace to those around. Jesus just wanted his friends to pray for Him. It may not have changed the events to come any, but it would have no doubt brought more peace to Jesus if they had prayed. He was terrified of what was to come next. For His friends to pray for Him would have been nice, comforting at least.