Today, I will be sharing some thoughts regarding the disciples’ experience in Gethsemane. Only three of the disciples were actually with Jesus while He was wrestling and struggling in the garden. These disciples were Peter, James and John (James and John were the sons of Zebedee) (Matthew 26: 36–37).
Jesus longed for His disciples to pray with Him and asked them to do so. He asked them for prayer because He Himself craved their prayers and also because He knew that if they did not pray, they would fall into temptation.
Unfortunately, the disciples allowed sleep to overtake them and they did not watch and pray (Matthew 26: 40, 43 and 45). Their failure to do so was costly. As we will see in upcoming blog posts, all of the disciples left Jesus and ran away from Him during some of the worst moments of His life (Matthew 26:56).
Some of us may hear this and think, “What a shame. How could they do this? I would have prayed my heart out and I would have stood up for my best friend Jesus”.
But would you have?
I have been learning, both intellectually and from experience, that I cannot truly know myself or live up to my best intentions unless I am trusting God. For example, I discovered through a painful experience that even though I thought I loved a certain person very deeply and unselfishly, when a painful trial hit, I chose my own comfort over the comfort of this loved one. I was shocked. I never dreamed that I could do such a thing. This happened because I took my eyes off of Jesus and indulged in self-pity. Once I did this, I paved the way for myself to fall off of a slippery slope. I hurt my loved one and I hurt myself.
Gethsemane teaches us the importance of earnest prayer and watchfulness. Jesus overcame in Gethsemane because He was watchful and prayerful. The disciples would have had victory over indulging their fears and over indulging in self preservation had they been watchful and prayerful.
I would not have selfishly chosen my own welfare over the welfare of my loved one during a crisis had I been watchful and prayerful. Left to myself, I will choose myself over others in times of crisis…. every. single. time. When people truly choose to promote the welfare of others over themselves during times of crisis, we can be sure that Jesus is working on their hearts.
Oh to have self-sacrificing love! I keep seeing how terrible it is when I choose my own welfare over the welfare of others-even in times of pain and crisis. I am so grateful that God keeps bringing me through trials so that I can keep having opportunities to allow God to pour His self sacrificing loving to me!
There is no happier life to be found than the life that is completely free of selfishness. We often dream of heaven because it is a place that is free from pain, sickness and death. This is a good reason to dream of heaven but the best part of heaven is that there is not one ounce of selfishness to be found there anywhere. The more unselfish we become, the more we will long for Jesus to come back to this earth again and bring us to heaven to live with Him.
Unselfishness and deep concern for the welfare of others over His own is what led Jesus to go to the cross at all costs. Selfishness, and more concern for their own welfare than for the welfare of Jesus is what led the disciples to run away from Jesus during His time of great pain and suffering.
Oh dear Jesus! Please take away the terrible selfishness in our hearts that causes us to love ourselves more than we love anyone else. We are deceived, many of us, because we think that we love others, but when trials come this deception is unmasked and we see that we love ourselves more. It is so terrible Jesus, and we cannot change ourselves, so I am asking you to come into our hearts and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Thank you so much, dear Jesus.
In Jesus’ Name,