Jesus doesn’t want this. He is “deeply grieved, even to death” about this. He prays that this cup might pass from him. What I love about the scene in Gethsemane is the vulnerability of Jesus. Ever since chapter 23, and even before, we have seen a strong, confident Jesus, saying the hard words in the hard way to the religious elite, and boldly and clearly predicting his death. He does not seem to have any fear or hesitation about what is about to happen. He appears ready. Even when dining with his disciples, he seems confident and ready, even naming his betrayer. But as they approach Gethsemane, you can almost see him pause, take a deep breathe, turn to his friends, perhaps with a tear in his eye or a crack in his voice, and say, “I’m scared. I’m unsure. My heart is heavy. My soul is deeply grieved”.
He then heads in, falls to the ground and prays, but not before asking something of his disciples: “Remain here and stay awake with me.” There is no way that any of them could have understood what Jesus was going through at that moment. But in one of his most human moments, Jesus doesn’t need them to understand. He only needs them to stay awake with him. He only needs them to sit with him. We live in a culture that wants to fix things. When we see a friend who is hurting, we want to know why, we want to fix it, and in many cases we want some one to pay. And if we can’t do any of those things we often feel paralyzed, so we shut off and go to sleep. Jesus doesn’t need his friends to fix anything. he doesn’t need them to have answers. In his grief, he only asks that they stay awake with him.
Remember in chapter 25 when he talked about “what you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done to me”? The poor, broken, homeless, naked, hungry, imprisoned are Jesus in this world. Sometimes we look at things like poverty, and, with the best of intentions, we want to fix it. But most of us can’t . It’s a good and noble thing to do what we can to fix it, and we should fight for the cause of the poor, to be sure, but for the most part we can’t fix it. So what do we do? I wonder if we go to sleep. We can’t fix it, answer it, solve it, or justify it so we go to sleep. I wonder if all God wants is for us to stay awake. I wonder if God is saying to us, “could you not stay awake with me for on hour?”. It’s hard to do, but some times all God is asking us to do is simply stay awake and sit with the Christ in his moments of brokenness, hurt, fear and grief.