Tuesday in the Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 26:36-36; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1

Watch and Pray

Jesus has now finished speaking with the disciples.  The hour has come.  Now he must pray, now he must commune with his Father and find strength for the suffering which will soon be his.  He knows Judas will be arriving soon with a band of men.  There is no more time for talk; there is only time for prayer.

This is as downcast as Jesus ever gets: “My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death.”  He begs the disciples to watch with him, meaning, stay awake.  He doesn’t want to be alone.  But these men who said they were willing to die with him only a few moments before, now can’t even stay awake to pray with him.  But Jesus was never alone; his Father was nearer than those men ever could be, and even sent an angel to strengthen him.  Our Lord was looking down the throat of sheer hell.  Yes, the torture would be bad enough, but it was the bearing of sin and separation from his Father that really shook him (Mark 15:34), and in his real and true human nature which he took for our sake, he genuinely felt terror.

Jesus prayed, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.  Remove this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  I have heard people say that praying, “Thy will be done,” is a copout.  Really?  Our Lord was trying to copout before the cross, if only Papa would let him?  Jesus knew the answer, which is why he prayed the way he did.  And here is a hard lesson for us to learn: Sometimes the answer is, “No.”  Sometimes we must endure the struggle; sometimes we must walk through hell.  God’s greatest promise to us is not that He will deliver us from the flames (though sometimes He does), but that He will be with us (Exodus 3:12; Hebrews 13:5).  All things are possible for God, but that doesn’t mean that God does the impossible for us every time.  And if He even said “No” to His only Son…

Instead, God says to us, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  These are words that we need to hear in our day.  Are you struggling with a particular temptation in your life?  Stay awake and pray.  Drive sleep from your body, pray, and sweat, if not drops of blood, then at least tears from your eyes.  The Christian life is no cakewalk; it was never meant to be.  Our Lord suffered, and if we will be his disciples, we shall have to “arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:1).  And suffering does not require persecution; it happens when we deny ourselves and follow him.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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