"He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “Oh My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41)
Jesus was about to face the greatest trial of His earthly life. In fact, it was the greatest trial anyone had ever, or would ever face in all eternity. This moment was the culmination of all that God had promised His people. Jesus’ response to this moment would determine the fate of all humanity.
However, Jesus understood that He needed to be supernaturally strengthened through prayer if He was to endure the coming trial. Although He was fully God and fully man, in order to accomplish atonement for sin and redemption for mankind, Jesus had to humble Himself and face this trial not as God Almighty, but as a man reliant on God’s strength.
“Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:6-8)
In His moment of need, Jesus turned to prayer. What was true for Jesus is certainly true for us. We simply do not have the strength or ability to endure the temptations and trials of a fallen world, unless we are relying on the strength that only God can provide through prayer. The disciples however, underestimated the difficulty of the coming trial and overestimated their own ability to handle it. They gave themselves to sleep instead of prayer, and when the moment of testing came, they did not have the spiritual strength to endure it.
The storm clouds are gathering in our world today. Christian persecution is at an all-time high, immorality, violence, and idolatry of all kinds are on the increase in our secular culture, and the church is largely sleeping, powerless to impact a world descending into darkness at an alarming rate. This is not a time to be asleep!
As Jesus exhorted the disciples, we too must "Keep watch and pray", otherwise we will not have the strength to stand in the days ahead. If we do pray, we will be clothed with the power of God needed to endure the coming storm, and the Light of Life will shine through us in the darkness. Many will be drawn to the light of Christ within us in the days ahead, bringing healing and salvation to countless souls, for the glory of God!