Day 32: With Me

Day 32: With Me

Jesus had left eight of the disciples at the entrance of the Garden, and took His three closest companions with Him deeper into the Gethsemane—both literally and figuratively. It was not unusual for these three to be singled out for special glimpses of Jesus’ glory, and, interestingly, when the three of them were taken to the mountaintop to view Jesus’ transfiguration, they had some similar responses to this special moment in Gethsemane: They fell asleep, and they didn’t know what to say (see Luke 9:32-33). Another thing that these two incidents have in common is that the disciples did not understand what either event meant at the time they were experiencing them. Only in retrospect, and under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, were they able to understand.

The command of Jesus’ statement was “stay here and watch,” and the invitation was, “with me.” For these three, the role in being with Him had layers to it. Spurgeon says that Jesus took the disciples for two reasons. First for their good, and second to assist and comfort Him. The first reason was to prepare them for the trial ahead, to comfort them afterward so they would not be undone by their failure, and to instruct them on prayer, submission, and courage. They were to witness His anguish, to absorb some of the urgency of the moment displayed in His fervency, to observe what it was like to wrestle in prayer and to ultimately surrender one’s will to that of the Father. But beyond observing, the “with” indicates entering vicariously into the suffering of Jesus. The summons to enter into this time of Christ’s anguish was an invitation to a profound intimacy, for many may invite us to join them in celebration, but only the trusted few are permitted to draw near in times of vulnerability and suffering.

As for the second reason Jesus asked them to be with Him—the request of Jesus for their companionship in His time of trial—was a true sign of humility. Here He opened Himself to being supported and encouraged by those beneath Him in rank and nature. It is often difficult for leaders to be vulnerable with those who follow them, but this, too, was an example for the disciples and other leaders to follow as they would lead others. And, no doubt, it was a reminder to deal gently with those who would not be equal to the trust placed in them, as they had not been worthy of the vulnerability Jesus invited them to share.

• What times have you felt that those close to you have failed you when you needed them most? How did you deal with it? When have you felt you’ve failed others in their time of need? How did they respond?
• Have there been times when you’ve felt the Lord call to you for intimacy, but you’ve brushed Him aside? How do you intend to change this?

It pains me to identify with Your disciples, but I too often have not responded to Your invitations to intimacy with Your heart. In doing this I have both missed out on fellowship and sinned. Forgive me. Teach me to respond to Your invitations quickly, eagerly, passionately, gratefully.

by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries