“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 (NRSV)
It was the evening of Christ's betrayal, and he was praying for what lay ahead. We see in this passage evidence of Christ being fully human. Jesus had long known he would suffer death; now, the time was near, and with the nearness came the human emotions of dread and fear. Father, is there no other way? Must I really give my life? But the sentence does not end with the momentary reluctance but the offer of obedience. "God, it's not what I want but what your will."
Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. (43-44)
We cannot begin to imagine the inner turmoil Christ faced. For a moment, let us try to picture the heavy drops of sweat dripping from his face as he poured out his most profound anguish to his Father. While he accepted God's will, it was still not easy. God doing what God does, sent Jesus a helper in his state of dismay and weakness to give him strength.
When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” (45-46)
The poor disciples; sleeping while Christ was deep in prayer. Let us not judge them too harshly; it had been a whirlwind of a week, and they had the foreknowledge of what was to come. Their bodies and minds in response were exhausted. Jesus tells them instead of sleeping; they should be praying for the strength to face what is to come, is for their spirits. Sleep would only help them so much, but as Christ is arrested, tried, beaten, and crucified, they will need spiritual fortification.
Father of our fully human, yet divine Savior Jesus Christ, we offer you today our obedience. We come as your humble servants, admitting that we may not understand you will, but we accept. We ask for spiritual strength for whatever lies ahead. Please help us not to be found asleep in our grief, but be seeking your guidance. We give thanks for the salvation offered in our risen Lord and the guide of the Holy Spirit. Amen.