April 2

Matthew 26:39-41 39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." 40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Gethsemane means "olive press." Jesus had retreated to what we believe was a friend's olive grove. The cave where the press was kept is still there today. The Church of All Nations is built over the spot where it is believed Jesus went to pray. Ancient olive trees still grow in the garden beside the church. Jesus came to prepare Himself for the battle that lay before Him. He had never felt the weight of sin personally. For all eternity He had perfect fellowship with the Father. Ahead, He could see the sins of the world would be placed upon Him while all hell vented its fury at Him. The Father would have to turn His face, for God is of purer eyes than to behold evil. "Isn't there some other way?" He asked.

Jesus did not want to suffer. That is not a sin. That is instinctive. Yet He was willing to suffer if the Father's willed it so. Reader, don't feel that you have sinned if you do not desire loss or pain that lies before you. As long as the Father's will is your priority and you are willing to do His will, even if you do not desire the pain, you are not in sin. You don't have to like God's will. You do need to have faith that He will see you through and bring good from the suffering. That is faith in the character and sovereignty of God.

Jesus asked the disciples to pray with Him. He wanted His friends to be prepared too. He asked them to pray for their own sakes. When God prompts you to pray, it is sometimes the preparation for the battle that lies before you. They wanted to pray, but their bodies were tired. As you pray for others, don't forget to pray for your dependence on the Spirit of God for strength.

Consider: Can you keep watch with Him for one hour?