Jesus prayed for His disciples, and the rest of His children. He was finished with His work on earth that the Father had given Him to do. Jesus had perfectly finished His work and He was nearing the time when He would get to go back to Heaven to be with the Father.
He prayed that the Father would protect them and that they would be one. He prayed that they would have His joy fulfilled in them, that they would be sanctified by His Word, and rejoiced that He would not lose one that He had chosen.
Jesus knew what was right around the corner. It was evening and that night was the night He would be betrayed. He knew who all the players would be, He knew all their motives and He knew their hearts, yet He still was willing to go forward with the plan. He could have called His angels to stop the entire plan, but He knew this was the Father's will. So meek, so submissive, so kind; and for us.
Out to the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples in tow. He knew what would happen here as well. This was a favorite spot for them to gather and listen to Him teach and just have great fellowship. Big, old, sort of scary looking trees over head; grass under foot; a cold night was ahead. Were birds out singing this evening, or did God shut their mouths in reverence for what was about to take place?
Jesus gives the instruction for the disciples to pray with Him and He goes off to pray by Himself. As I have read this passage before I have often thought I would have been able to stay awake, but this is just pride. I'm tired right now and I know if I had to stay awake for a long time, I would fall asleep. Praying doesn't help to keep you awake; eyes closed, talking quietly, but maybe that's Jesus' point. If we knew the magnitude of what was about to happen, we would not be falling asleep. Jesus knew and there was no sleep in His future. No rest for the sinless One until He went to be with the Father.
What a night this would be. For Jesus it was filled with ridicule, beating, being spit on, whipped, questioned and forsaken by all those He had taught and discipled for the past 3 years. None were left but The Father and soon the Father would turn His back on Him as well. Abandoned and Alone, He born the world's affliction, He bore it as His own.
The disciples were afraid of the religious leaders, afraid of maybe being kicked out of the synagogue, afraid of being associated with Jesus, at least for tonight. Everything they had known for the last 3 years was now upside down. They were with the Messiah, but this is not how they thought it would turn out. Fireside accusations, servant girls, cold night air, scattered disciples, and a rooster all made for a very sad night and early morning.
Would we have noticed? Would we have followed? We will never know, because we are here today. But will we follow regardless of the cost? Will we stay awake to pray? Do we understand the cost of discipleship? Do we understand the importance of prayer?
Thursday night of Passion week is a heavy night. Let us not forget the cost He paid.