Summary: This sermon examines the one hour of prayer that Jesus requested of his disciples - their failure and Jesus’ response.
March 8, 2006 Matthew 26:36-46
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going 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.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
Two nights ago as the night wound down my wife turned on the Grammy Awards. There was Reese Witherspoon giving this ten minute speech to all of her family about how happy she was to have received the award. Soon thereafter, the director of Brokeback Mountain then won some award and gave a speech for his portrayal of gay cowboys. In the midst of all this, my wife was laughing at me. It didn’t take me more than one minute to start covering my eyes and just beg her to turn it off. I absolutely cannot stand watching those shows - they come close to making me physically sick. Even those few minutes seemed like an eternity to me. Finally, after getting her revenge on me for making her watch kick-boxing earlier in the night, she finally decided to turn off the TV and let me get some rest.
Time is relative - 1st of all to what you are doing. When you tell your kids it’s one hour to bedtime, they might say, “ohh, only one hour!” That hour flies by and before they know they have to get ready for bed. But then you tell them that they have to pull weeds or do chores for the next hour and they reply, “What! A whole hour!” Time is relative, isn’t it? It’s also relative - 2nd of all - to who you’re with. One of the first questions people like to ask is, “who is going?” Invite a kid to a party - and they want to know who is all going to be there. Some people can make even pulling weeds fun - they just have the personality to make life enjoyable. Others make eating ice cream seem like a time-consuming chore. It depends on who you’re with as to how fast time goes. A good Biblical example is in Genesis 29:20 when, “Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” He was working for someone he believed in and cared for - so the time went quickly because he knew that his cause was worth while.
In tonight’s text, Jesus asked Peter, “ “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” There’s two aspects to this question if you look at it. He mentions WHAT He asked them to do - “watch”, and WHO He was asking them to do it with - “me.” The question denotes a sense of disappointment and higher expectations of the disciples. He expected MORE out of them - that they could at least keep watch with him for one measly hour. These were his chosen disciples after all - even the inner three - Peter, James and John - who had also seen Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (and slept halfway through that as well - I might add!). God expects more of us as well. We - as Jesus’ disciples - have been chosen by God - anointed by the Holy Spirit - set apart to be holy people. He says also to us during these Troubling Times of the Passion to -
Keep Watch With Me for One Hour
I. The role of the watchman