49 – Trials will Come
And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
- Emphatically: To say something with certainty
- Abba: A word which means father
Who do you rely on when you face difficult times?
What does Jesus’s prayer reveal to us about that which he was going to face?
The Bible is full of warnings about being overconfident in our own strength and ability. People who are so sure of themselves often learn that they are not so special after all.
As the hour gets nearer, Jesus tries to warn his disciples for the last time about what is about to happen. He is going to be killed, and like a sheep without a shepherd, they will run away. But there is no need to be disheartened, because they will see him again after he has risen.
Peter’s response is exactly what you would expect from him. He says that it doesn’t matter what anyone else does, he will not leave Jesus to face this on his own, even if he has to die as well. But Jesus tells Peter that he is going to deny him, not once, not twice, but three times before the morning!
Jesus, realising the magnitude of what is about to happen, goes with three of his disciples to pray. His words begin to give us some idea of how horrendous what he was going to face was. Think about what we have seen from Jesus up until now – he was never afraid and always ready to do the will of his Father. And yet, when facing the cross, he asks God if there is any other way. But he himself knew that this was the only way, and that this is the reason that he came into the world.
What are the three disciples doing whilst Jesus is going through this? Were they there, supporting and comforting him? Surely Peter must have been there with him? No, they were all asleep. Three times Jesus comes to them and sees that they have failed to stay awake. He faced this by himself. And at last, the hour has come.
Have you ever faced a difficult experience by yourself?
What confidence do we get from seeing that Jesus is in complete control of everything that happens?
for strength to face difficult times, and thank God that he is always with you.