Matthew 26:39-56 is the basis for the message. We find 11 disciples left with the Lord. It’s the midnight hour so we can see why they were sleepy. They crossed the brook to the olive grove of Gethsemane. Eight disciples were left at the gate and three went further into the garden with Jesus. These were Peter, James, and John, known at the inner circle of the disciples. They were to tarry near Jesus and watch. But they slept. Three times Jesus went to them in between times of praying, agonizing so hard that his sweat became like drops of blood. Anguish over the coming physical pain. He would feel this fully as a man. He also knew that for a while he’d be separated from the Father so the sins of man could be taken care of. He agonized over these sins. Hebrews 5:7-9 says Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. This is talking about Jesus Christ and his anguish in Gethsemane. Because of this Jesus understands what we go through. He is touched by our infirmities, our anguish, and our sorrow. He can identify with us.
Jesus prayed, asking if there was another way. He was not trying to get out of Calvary. He simply asked but he affirmed his desire that the Father’s will be done. He would go through with the mission. If he had not suffered a little while, we would for all eternity. If he had not been separated from God for a little while, we would be for all eternity. We’ll never go through anything close to what Jesus did. What does it take for the Father’s will to be done? Trust God’s plan. Prayer. Obedience each step of the way. None of us is a match for the devil. Be alert. Don’t sleep. Many Christians are asleep; we should be wide awake serving the Lord.
This was not a Roman arrest but one of the religious leaders. Judas Iscariot was the betrayer and accuser, done so by the friendly gesture of a kiss. Peter cut off the ear of the servant but Jesus put it back on and told Peter to put up his sword. Let God’s plan proceed. That tells me we don’t need to take things into our own hands. If Peter had his way Jesus would not have gone to the cross. As the soldiers took Jesus, all the disciples ran away. We might have done the same thing. Just a few hours earlier they all declared they’d die for him. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. Talk is cheap. By the grace of God I want to stand in persecution. Don’t brag about what you’d do. Just how strong is your faith?
I want to mention some things that stand out before the trial. Jesus couldn’t get anybody to pray with him. Peter followed afar. That proceeded denial. Just because you’re close today doesn’t mean you will be later. The closer you get to Jesus, the smaller the crowd gets. God uses the insignificant, a rooster. Thank God Peter came back. It’s one thing to mess up and another to repent. That was the difference between Peter and Judas. One repented and the other didn’t. Jesus told Mary after she saw him resurrected to tell his disciples and Peter that he was alive. When you fail, ask Jesus to forgive you. Repent.