26:31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
26:32 But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
26:33 Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.”
26:34 Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”
26:35 Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.
26:36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
26:37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated.
26:38 Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.”
26:39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”
26:40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
26:41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
26:42 Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
26:43 Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
26:44 So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
26:45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
26:46: Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
This is one of the most heaviest passages in scripture. The time had come for Jesus to take on the sins of the world, yet He knew it was not going just simply being killed. He was about to be betrayed, deserted and denied by those who were His closest followers. He was about to endure being mocked, beat, tortured and spit upon. On top of that the world was about to reject God and choose man over the one true Saviour of this world. All of humanity’s sin was about to placed on to one man. Imagine your moments of anger, temptation, selfishness, all of your sin being take on and include the entire population. That is a heavy burden to bear and no one can ever experience the pain that Jesus felt.
There are two events that take place these verses and therefore two main lessons we can learn. The first focuses on man’s response to sin(33-35) the second focuses on Christ’s response to sin (36-46).
- Man’s response to sin (v 33-35): Jesus was not attempting to bring down the disciples by telling them that they would scatter or that Peter would deny Christ. He is stating the fact that they are going to be faced with a very scary and life threatening situation. The human response would be to flee and run. Him telling them this could have also been a warning that their faith was about to be tested more then it had ever been previously. Jesus was about to be taken away from them and accused of some very serious crimes that only He could answer to. Jesus was indeed God Himself and that was something that was about to be tested and tried in an unjust and severe manner. Peter’s answer to this accusation of running and denying Christ seemed appalling at the time. I believe the reason why Peter was so quick to say that He would stand right beside Christ is because there was no imminent threat yet. Peter may have truly wanted to believe in his heart that he could never commit such a grievous act, yet Christ knew Peter’s heart and knew how weak it could be. The main problem was that Peter was denying that He could ever enter into sin or be weak. He believed himself to be strong and that his strength came from his own abilities. Our response to sin should always be with humility and an admission that we need God’s strength to lead and guide us.
- Christ’s Response to Sin (v 36-46): Jesus dealt with 3 different moments of weakness that the disciples had. The first was Peter’s bold statement of denial. The second was the disciples inability to stay awake and the third was experiencing Judas betrayal. In each response He had, Christ was not filled with anger or hate. He was filled with grief over how weak mankind is and how quickly we fall into sin. Christ longs for us to see the severity of our sin and the hope that we have in Him when we turn from our sin. He longs for us to also be on guard and constantly battling ourselves against sin because we are not immune to it. When Christ rebuked the disciples for sleeping, His intention was so that they would learn to be prepared for what is to come. All this is boiled down to His love and Grace for us. The ultimate foundation to all of what Christ did and still does is fueled by His unfailing love towards us.
Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours
Lord I’m forever Yours
(Lyrics by Kari Jobe)
Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? (Matthew 26:40)
On the cusp of Jesus’ death, knowing fully that He is about to die, the disciples cannot even stay awake for an hour. I would like to think that they were run ragged and without sleep. I do not know if that is true and judging by Jesus’ response it seems like it doesn’t matter. It was a simple task.
But how many times have we failed a simple task? I know that I have failed many times in the most simple tasks. Whether it’s taking time to do my devotions or just being kind to others when I am having a hard day. I have failed over and over again. In this soon to be Easter season, let us focus on being vigilant with our dedication to Jesus and following His word, even when it is not easy.