Please enjoy these devotions from a series published in 2016 by Martin Luther College entitled "Searching Questions from Christ's Passion"

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.
“Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he
asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into
temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
(Matthew 26:40-41)

How are you at staying awake? Some of us probably
wished for a do-over after nodding through crucial parts
of the latest Star Wars movie.

On the night Jesus was betrayed, his disciples could not
keep their eyes open. Picture the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus led the Eleven to a quiet place to pray. Then he
urged Peter, James, and John, “My soul is overwhelmed
with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep
watch with me.”

Upon his return from praying, even Jesus seemed
surprised that his friends could not stay awake.
Consider what he had told them. “This is my blood
of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the
forgiveness of sins.” Consider what he showed them. His
peaceful countenance overwhelmed with sorrow. Sweat
like great drops of blood falling off him after he prayed.

How could they sleep? The Spirit through Luke tells
us they were exhausted from sorrow. So the burden
of suffering that weighed down Jesus to the point of
death crushed his disciples too. But notice that Jesus
did not sleep. He prayed. For himself. For the successful
completion of our salvation. And he woke them up. He
alerted them to the dangers of sleeping. “Watch and pray
so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is
willing, but the body is weak.”

Here is good news for you and me, the spiritually weak.
Our Savior Jesus does not save us because of what we will
do for him. He is not selling salvation to the ones who can best avoid temptation. His demands are more exacting than can be met by adding a few prayers.

His demands have been met, only could be met, by him. His holy life lived in our place. His innocent death as payment for our sins. And his resurrection, God’s ultimate wake up call.

So when he tells us to watch and pray, he is not laying out our way to earn his forgiveness. He is alerting us to the dangers of having his forgiveness through faith. Our enemies are around us. They are not sleeping. They are alert to our weaknesses and eager to use them against us. In our times of sorrow and distress, and in our times of accomplishment.

Thankfully we have a Savior who has defeated our enemies—sin, death, and the devil. In his amazing grace he is eager to help us in our time of need. Oh, how we need him. “Could you not keep watch with me one hour?” No, Lord, we cannot. But with your help and strength, empowered by your mercy, we will. Lord, help
us to watch with you.

Lord Jesus, you suffered the temptations of our
spiritual enemies and defeated them for us. In
our daily struggle against the spiritual forces
of darkness and in our inner battle with our
sinful nature, shield us with your protection
and strengthen us with your grace, that we may
stand firm in faith and obtain the victory. Amen.

--Rev. John Boeder