Abandoning Jesus

Abandoning Jesus
“Day of Accomplishments”

Matthew 26:36-38

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Matthew 26:36-38 (GW)
36  Then Jesus went with the disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to them, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.”

37  He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons with him. He was beginning to feel deep anguish.  38 Then he said to them, “My anguish is so great that I feel as if I’m dying. Wait here, and stay awake with me.”

In this passage, we see Jesus show the deepest moment of His humanity, as recorded in Scripture.  Christ knew that he was not only about to endure the torture, pain and suffering of the impending trial, conviction and sentencing… He was about to take on the sin of the ENTIRE WORLD… not just at that moment, but for ALL TIME!  For this reason (as God the Father will not be in the presence of sin), Jesus was about to be Spiritually SEPARATED from His Father for the first time EVER!

In the midst of this tremendous emotional and spiritual weight, Jesus brings his closest friends with Him to a quiet, isolated place to pray.  He then further refines His “support group” to His most trusted inner circle.  Peter, James and John were the three men Jesus wanted with Him at His most vulnerable, human moment.  What was His passionate request for His inner circle at this critical moment in Jesus’ life?  “Wait here, and stay awake with me.”

Now the disciples could see the obvious, intense anguish in Jesus’ demeanor.  Presumably, they were not accustomed to seeing Christ in this state.  They had to sense the gravity of the situation, even though they did not fully understand what was really happening.  Yet, how did they respond?  Did they fall to their knees and cry out to the Father, who had already given divine revelation to Peter about Christ’s divinity?  Did they at least talk incessantly among themselves about what they could do for Jesus in His hour of need?

Matthew 26:40-41 (GW)
40  When [Jesus] went back to the disciples, he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour?  41 Stay awake, and pray that you won’t be tempted…”

The inner circle fell asleep.  At a critical moment in Jesus’ life, His closest friends couldn’t even stay awake with Him.  So, Jesus wakes them and again pleads for them to stay awake and pray.  After going away a second time to pray alone, Christ returns to His disciples:

Matthew 26:43 (GW)
43  He found them asleep again because they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

Even while He was physically here on the earth, Jesus’ closest companions failed Him.  They were not able to stay awake and pray with and for their Master.  Of course, the account of this event in the garden continues with ALL of His disciples leaving Jesus and fleeing the scene when the soldiers took Jesus into custody (Matt. 26:56).  Peter, one of the three members of the inner circle, later denies (three times) being a following of Christ (Mark 14:66-71).

What about us?  Would (Do) we fare much better?  The Bible promises that God “will never leave [us] nor forsake [us]” (Deut. 31:6,8  &  Heb. 13:5).  How often do we even ATTEMPT to return the same loyalty, dedication and commitment to God?  Jesus willingly gave His life for us.  That is a little too easy to say sometimes.  Jesus gave His LIFE.  Though, not just His life… He took on OUR sin and OUR separation from God the Father.  He bore OUR (well-deserved) punishment so that we could be restored back to God.  Yet, we often “fall asleep” on God, in that we do not put Him first in our lives.  We follow our own hearts’ desires.  We feel that “God’s got this”… not out of faith, but out of a lack of commitment to prayer and willingness to be actively involved in spiritual warfare.

Again, ramping up toward “Good Friday” and the celebration of Easter Sunday, let’s not fall asleep on God…

Be a Christian that Christ can count on!

-Dan Rivera

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