September 14, 2010
Praying with Jesus
Heavy Eyes Today
“Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.”
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Jesus had tremendous patience with every disciple, and continues to have patience with us. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was praying in agony, and His sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44). As Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father, He also had to interact with His disciples. This point and counter-point activity demonstrates an important quality in the life of Jesus. We need to learn how to pray, and at not miss a beat in how we interact with the our friends in Christ while we pray.
In Matthew 26:43, Jesus had been facing His imminent betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. He had taken His disciples to watch and pray with Him, and selected Peter, James and John to stay close by to keep watch and pray. He had already moved away and prayed by Himself, and returned once and found them sleeping. Now, He returns a second time from personal prayer and finds them sleeping again.
In Mark 14:40, we learn that the disciples did not know what to answer Jesus. When we combine these passages, we see that Jesus wanted the disciples to watch and pray so that they would not enter into temptation. He also noted that their flesh was weak, but the spirit was willing. Keep in mind that Jesus had real human flesh, just like the disciples. He had to overcome normal human limitations, but an angel came to strengthen Him in the garden (Luke 22:43). We also saw from Luke’s account that not only were they tired, but they were also sleeping due to sorrow (Luke 22:45). Matthew 26:43 reminds us that the disciples had heavy eyes (“οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ βεβαρημένοι“) (compare Luke 9:32, where the same three disciples fell asleep on the mountain of transfiguration, but awoke to see the glory of Jesus.
With this verse, we understand that Jesus not only had to pray for Himself, and talk with His Father in agonizing prayer about the impending crucifixion, and the cup He must drink by submitting His will to the will of His heavenly Father, but Jesus must also deal with His disciples. Jesus never became so wrapped up in His own problems, or in His own prayers, that He lost sight of shepherding His disciples. He was going to die a horrible death for the disciples. They were the object of His loving sacrifice of death. He constantly had them in mind, and sought both their help and their spiritual welfare. He did not lose His patience when He found them sleeping, and disobeying His commands to watch and pray.
So, we learn some more about sharing and praying with Christ.
● We learn to pray by knowing that we must never be so absorbed by prayer that we sin against our friends in Christ. This statement may sound strange, but keep in mind the way Jesus interacted with His disciples and how God has made such a point to remind us of the sleeping disciples.
● We learn to pray better when we focus not only upon ourselves, but also upon how we interact with people. Part of making disciples means that we make them (by God’s power and grace) in good times and difficult times.
● We hinder our prayers when we fail to heed the commands of Jesus Christ, and stay alert, praying for our friends. When Jesus comes back, we want Him to find us praying and watching.
Application for Today
Today, I want to love my friends in Christ, patiently, even when they blow second chances. I want to keep my focus upon praying for myself and them. Will you have heavy eyes today? Will you encourage your friends in Christ with heavy eyes to keep watching and praying, no matter how many times you have encouraged them before?