Gracious, Loving God, you are my strength, my joy, and my song. I thank you for this day and praise you for your goodness.
Read MATTHEW 26:36-46
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 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.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 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.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 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. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPerhaps we should take off our shoes. Today’s passage is holy ground.
‘Don’t go. Stay with me.’ It’s the sort of plea someone might breathe if they are feeling weak or vulnerable. It’s a very human reaction. In Gethsemane, Jesus was deeply saddened. He said to Peter, James and John: ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me’ (v 38). Remarkably, the Son of God wanted the human companionship of these three fishermen. When, later, he found them asleep, it can only have added to his sense of wretchedness. We might note in passing that being holy and in the center of God’s will – as the Lord Jesus undoubtedly was – may include times of being deeply troubled.
We have all prayed the prayer Jesus prayed – in the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Your will be done.’ Jesus prayed it here at least three times (vs 39,42,44), because he was determined to carry out his Father’s wish. But he also wanted, and he pleaded in prayer, to be spared ‘this cup’, the awful trial of suffering facing him. He was appalled by it, as any sensitive soul would be. His prayer was heard. But the answer was ‘No’.
Jesus was human like us. Like us, he needed human companionship. Like us, he prayed to avoid suffering. Like us, he wanted to do as his Father wished.
Resolve that your trust in your heavenly Father will be constant, even if, like Jesus, you do not receive what you earnestly pray for.
Lord Jesus, you are my High Priest and you are, even now, interceding for me. I ask for alertness and vigilance, so that I do not miss an opportunity you present to me.
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