Summary: When Christ calls us to be with Him, He honours us. He does not treat us as we deserve should we fail Him, but He is glorified in raising us up and employing us to His glory.

“Jesus went with [his disciples] to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to [them], ‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’ And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’ And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’ And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.’” [1]

If Jesus called on you to stand with Him in the hard place, would you do so? Would you hasten to stand with Him, though you knew the cost would be terrible? I suspect that most of us who are Christians flatter ourselves that we would move with alacrity and are confident that we would never desert the Master regardless of how difficult the place we occupy. However, I fear that we flatter ourselves with courage that does not exist.

I don’t mean to disparage believers who want to be courageous; I only mean to caution that the faithful face a powerful and determined enemy. In general, we pastors give the impression that we are prepared to encourage a rather casual approach to living out the Faith. We are engaged in a vicious war that demands full reliance upon our great Protector and Commander. He does call us to stand with Him and when we do so, we will engage in battle. Consider a sampling of the calls that we have received from the Master Himself.

“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him” [JOHN 12:26]. Following the Master is not a recommendation—it is a command! Standing with Jesus is evidence that one is a disciple.

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” [JOHN 14:23].

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” [JOHN 17:24].

The Apostle has given a strong call to stand firm in the day of conflict when he writes, “Be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm therefore” [EPHESIANS 6:10-14 NET BIBLE].

Most Christians who have stood with Christ in the heat of spiritual conflict likely will not be especially pleased when reviewing their performance. They may have shrunk from the conflict, drew back rather than engage the enemy at close range and trembled at the potential cost of the warfare. Spiritual combat is costly, and the most experienced understand the high cost of standing firm. However, these precious souls will stand because they trust their Great Commander and know that they have no one else to whom they can turn.

In these days preceding Easter, the Day set aside to permit us especially to remember the Resurrection of the Master, we do well to recall an incident that occurred in the final hours of His earthly ministry when the Master had taken three disciples with Him as He faced the cross. The account provides great encouragement for each believer as we review that singular incident immediately before Jesus was seized by His enemies.

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