Jesus and the disciples are in the Garden of Gethsemane: “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to his disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them ‘ Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ “
Jesus is praying fervently (to the point of sweating blood), concerning his upcoming Crucifixion, which will appease God’s wrath against all of OUR sins. We might assume that he is praying that he might not be tempted to turn aside from God’s plan. At the beginning of his ministry, he was tempted and resisted three times. (Mt. 4: 1-11). Now he is to face, not only an excruciating death, but also the final and most severe temptation: denial and disobedience.
Over the course of three years, he has spoken to his disciples many times about what is to happen: his death, and the pressure to fall away from Him and belief of God’s words. He has asked the disciples to pray with him. Yet the tired disciples sleep and can not pray for even one hour. (Mt. 26:40).
What can we learn from this encounter?
Are we like the disciples, who having heard God’s word and warnings, do not understand, and are in denial? (Mk. 16:21-23)
Are we caught up with short prayers for our own immediate needs, ignoring God’s warnings?
Like the disciples, do we not understand Jesus, that WE, too, will be persecuted, even to death, for standing for God’s Truth in Christ, and can fall away and betray each other and Christ? (Mt. 24:9-10)
Are we like the men of Issacher who seek to discern and understand the times? (2 Chr. 12:32)
Do we pray that we might not enter into temptation?
Do we pray fervently that we might stand firm in / on Christ, in the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) and boldly declare the gospel – no matter the penalty?