And when He (Jesus) came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation" (Luke 22:40).
Read Luke 22:39-40.
Having left the upper room behind, Jesus leads His disciples to the Mount of Olives, which rises opposite Jerusalem. During this Passover Week Jesus has spent the nights out in the open, sleeping under the stars (see Luke 21:37). John tells us Judas was familiar with this place (see John 18:2). Of course, Jesus could easily foil his betrayal plot by choosing a different, unknown place this night. But He returns to this familiar ground, voluntarily yielding Himself up to His Father's plan.
On this mountain is a garden into which Jesus now leads His disciples. He is greatly troubled, telling them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me" (Matthew 26:38b). He has every reason to think first of Himself and the heavy burden He is already beginning to carry, but first He urges His disciples to pray. He feels for them, knowing the pain and heartache they will soon suffer.
He knows Satan will use the coming events to press them sorely, to try to pulverize their faith. Already with the Lord's Supper, the prediction of Judas's betrayal and Peter's denial this very night should have made it clear to the disciples that a difficult trial was looming before them. They should have been on their knees in prayer; instead, the doom and gloom left them weary, and soon they all drifted off to sleep.
In the hour of His greatest need Jesus is left alone by His friends. Like them, we frequently sleep when moments of great danger and temptation are coming toward us. Our Lord also urges us to stay alert and pray.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Amen.
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