You know the feeling. You are in a tough spot – you need your friend, spouse or parent to be there for you. You need them and you need them NOW! But, for whatever reason, they are not there physically, emotionally or otherwise. What do you do now? Where do you turn? How can you handle this mess alone?
As I was reading Matthew 26:36-45 the words because fresh and new to me as if I were seeing them for the first time. Jesus friends weren’t there for Him. In His time of greatest need, the disciples closest to him slept.
Jesus communicated his need. He was sorrowful and troubled to the point of death. He needed his friends to watch and pray. He went away, by himself in His hour of greatest need to spend time communing with His Father. More than that though, I think Jesus was trying to teach the men how to handle temptation.
Not once, not twice, but three times Jesus asked them to watch and pray. He was setting an example for them. Jesus knew was was to happen in a few short moments. He was showing His disciples how to have victory when temptation comes. His closest three friends needed desperately to learn the lesson Jesus was trying to teach. But, they slept instead. When the temptations came, they failed. Within minutes one of them is trying to save Jesus by fighting the soldiers. Before the night’s end Peter would deny he even knew Jesus. They missed the whole eternal perspective of the situation.
The ironic thing about life is that when I pour into someone else’s life, I get blessed and grow so much. Each and every time. I am always blessed more than the one I’m trying to bless. If the disciples had been there for Jesus, watching and praying – first, Jesus wouldn’t have been alone. Human companions would have encouraged him. Second, I wonder how the remainder of the evening would have played out.
Yes, Jesus would still be insulted, tortured and killed. But, I suspect the course of the lives of the three men that sat with Him at Gethsemane would have forever been changed – for the better. Temptation is like that. When we fail, it affects us, sometimes large and sometimes small, but it always affects us.
Jesus was showing through His actions that we must be prepared for temptation. We need to pray. It’s not optional – it’s like saying you are going to eat dinner without food. Realize friends and family, no matter how much they love you, will at times let you down. That is reality. Humans are fallible. The awesome example from this situation is that God will never let you down! Not only is He available any time day or night – He wants you to come to Him. Don’t try and eat a meal with no food present. Don’t try and do life without prayer.