I count myself blessed to have a number of people I can turn to at any given moment and ask, “Please pray for me,” and I know they will. No matter the situation, whether it is an ongoing prayer concern, a burden for another person, or a crisis, I turn to my closest friends and family.
Jesus’ closest friends were his disciples. They lived with him day in and day out for two years. Even though he was God Himself, he specifically called him his friends.
So what would you anticipate Jesus would ask of them when he came to his moment of deepest grief?
“Guys, I know you don’t understand what’s about to happen, but please pray for me, that I may have the strength to get through this, that I may glorify the Father.”
Not that there would have been anything wrong with that request, but in the hours before his betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion, is that what Jesus told them?
It was, “Pray that YOU may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:40, emphasis mine)
His grief was so deep that he sweated blood, and even an angel attended to him to strengthen Him. Yet after pausing in this heart-wrenching prayer, finding the disciples asleep, what did he say then? “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:46)
I’m so glad God didn’t allow me to read over this familiar passage this time and miss this critical exchange as I apparently have done plenty of times.
Jesus, in the moments of his most intense grief, chose not to ask his closest friends to pray to the Father on his behalf. Instead, he was thinking of them.
He knew what was about to happen. He knew their world would be completely rocked because they still didn’t understand the Grand Plan. He knew that their greatest need was to avoid temptation. His mind was first focused on the will of the Father and second focused on the spiritual condition of His friends.
Oh, the love of my Savior! Not only did he come to die for my sins (and that was sufficient!), but he spent his time on earth showing that love in the most subtle ways.
May I follow in His footsteps. That no matter my heartache, I’ll first look toward His will and second to the good of those around me, knowing that once I do both of those, the Father is overjoyed to meet my own needs.
Now, I have a question. What temptations do you think Jesus foresaw? What temptations would the disciples have been faced with in the moments, days, weeks, and years after this night?