Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
In the most difficult times of our lives, it’s nice not to have to face them alone. It’s a comfort to have our friends by our side, to have a shoulder to cry on and someone to be near us when we are struggling. Jesus was facing the most difficult time of His life on Earth. The time of His death was drawing near, and He was feeling the heaviness of the load He was to bear. The weight of it pressed down upon Him. He was going to prayer, but He asked His friends to be with Him, and His earthly friends failed Him. They fell asleep, leaving Him to endure His agony alone.
But Jesus wasn’t alone, for His Father would not leave Him, especially now. In His burden, Jesus could cry out to His Father and find strength there. The three disciples had a chance to be used in Jesus’ life in a special way, but they forfeited that by falling asleep. Instead, God sent angels to strengthen His Son before the trial of the cross that He would endure. What a wonderful picture of God’s care for all of His children.
Sometimes in our lives, we will face trying times. And though we do not face a trial like Jesus had to face, there are difficult things we may have to endure in a life lived on this Earth. When all our friends forsake us and let us down, though we may be left to cry and pray alone, our merciful, loving Father is there every time. No matter where we are or what we face, we can go to the Father, as Jesus did, and be strengthened for what we will face next.
Maybe we can look back and see times where we’ve been the sleeping disciples when someone we love was facing a challenging time. Certainly we’ve failed our friends by not being there when they needed us or letting them down when they were counting on us. We can strive to be a praying friend, someone who will share the heavy burdens our friends may be carrying and go with them to the Father in prayer. Let’s be willing to give time and attention to our friends when they need us. Let’s be someone others can rely on in times of trouble. Let’s be that shoulder to cry on, that comforting presence.
Though Jesus was God in the flesh, He still desired the company of His disciples at this moment of His life. Let’s look to this passage as a reminder to be good friends, available friends, but also to understand that no matter how alone we are, we can always turn to our Heavenly Father. His presence will surround and comfort us no matter what kind of agony we are facing.