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Divine Questions #15

Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?

Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?

When Jesus prayed prior to His suffering, He asked Peter, James, and John to accompany Him. He had already shared a high point with them on the Mount of Transfiguration, now He wanted to share a low point in the Garden of Gethsemane.

When He found them sleeping, He asked, “…Could you not keep watch with me for one hour…?” (Matthew 26:40).

The Bible doesn’t record how the disciples felt when Jesus asked the question, but I am deeply embarrassed every time I read it. I think about my own inadequate prayer life – the idle boasts, the empty commitments, and my weak resolve.

Jesus wants me to be with Him, but I want to do something else. Jesus wants me to share His pain, but I want to avoid it.

This one question sheds an uncomfortable light on my flawed human condition. But then I remember the grace that Jesus showed to His three disciples.

He recognized their weakness yet promised them His strength. He said, “…Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak…” (Matthew 26:41).

This recognition of both our weakness and His strength will draw us to our knees.

Have we grasped the nature of His request?

Do we acknowledge our weakness?

Have we received His strength?


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