“Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with
Me.” Mt. 26.38

“Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not
watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing,
but the flesh is weak.” Mt. 26.40-41

When one reads the Bible, he or she comes into the knowledge of the Word. For example, the above
scriptures bring to mind Jesus’ time of personal prayer and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
immediately preceding His crucifixion. Reading these words is like picking the manna in the
wilderness, and eating it as the bread from God. To the Israelites it was visible to the eye, tangible to
the touch, and flavorful to the taste. It had become natural food for natural man. However, embedded
in the scriptures is the “hidden manna.” Jesus spoke of it in Rev. 2.17, “To him who overcomes I will
give some of the hidden manna to eat.” This manna is spiritual food that feeds understanding to the soul;
it nourishes the inward man, not the outward. It is not obvious to the eye because it is spiritual.

This hidden manna reveals the heart of God and feeds the soul with the Bread of Life. If knowledge,
even Biblical knowledge, does not lead to understanding, it abides alone roaming the intellectual mind
of man, never penetrating the heart. With knowledge alone we may become Biblical scholars but
never know to feed upon the hidden manna that transforms of the soul; this only comes with
understanding—it is the power to make real in experience the Word of God. This is the Bread of Life
sent from heaven. Let us pray for understanding as we proceed.

After the time of the Last Supper with His disciples, and instituting the Breaking of the Bread meal,
Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane for prayer. This was the place where He would find the grace
needed for the time of great temptation and suffering before Him. He said to His disciples, “My soul is
exceedingly sorrowful, even to death;” for, you see, the soul of man is weak indeed and subject to fear,
temptation, stress, and even doubt. But it is in the realm of the spirit that strength come to the soul, for
it is in this realm that one comes to our Father God to receive His mercy and grace for guidance and
endurance. Certainly, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus, as the Son of Man,
needed communion with His heavenly Father to strengthen His soul in these times of great temptation.

It was just this past Sunday at the beginning of worship that these scriptures in Matthew came to mind
and began to roll around in my thoughts. When reading the passage the clauses watch with Me stood
out, as well as one hour and watch and pray. Let’s explore these verses a little more closely to come
into a greater understanding of their intent for our lives.

Watch with Me. Jesus took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and asked them to watch,
(stay awake, stay alert) with Me; even though He was not in close proximity to them because He went
off by Himself to pray, He asked them to join with Him in prayer, be one with Him, to be like minded
before God in asking for strength, wisdom, endurance, and guidance in the temptations that lie before
Him and them. These are strengths that could only come into their souls by way of joining their spirit
to His Spirit in time of prayer. Jesus was asking for corporate prayer, not individuals praying for
individual needs, but as prayers emanating to God from one body, with Christ as the Head. (See Eph.
1.22-23) Pray with Me.

Today, Jesus Christ is not physically “with us” but is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. But
today we may be still joined with Him in His passion, His purposes, and His hopes for His Church. He
remains the, “head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
Eph. 1.22-23 It is written, “But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Cor. 2.16 But we.—That is, those of the
Spirit, who identify Christ as being One with the Holy Spirit; the same Spirit whom He had previously
spoken of as the Teacher of spiritual things; and now, to share in the passion of Christ for His Church,
to sense the views, feelings, and mind of Christ. We are influenced by His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ,
which is our Teacher, who knows His mind, and is revealing it unto us. Thus, we may still watch and
pray with Him.

Have you ever seen anyone actually weep for the Church in its present condition? I have. This one
was so passionately joined with Christ in prayer that he was overwhelmed with the thought of the
Church being corrupted with worldliness and selfish ambitions, deceived in darkness and false
doctrine, unfit for its purposes, and its preparation as the Bride to be—“…that I may present you (the
Church) as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Cor. 11.2-3) The apostle Paul knew such passion for the Church,
“For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved,
but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.” 2 Cor. 2.4
But the focus at this time, in the Garden, was for the more immediate preservation of His Church. It
was to be watchful and to pray for the time at hand; for great temptation was about to come upon
Christ with a heaviness almost impossible to bear; and also was coming a temptation to weaken and
scatter His disciples that are to be the very foundation of the Church He was about to build…in the

Watch and pray.— The word rendered “watch” means, literally, to abstain from sleep; then it means to
be vigilant, or to guard against danger. Here it seems to mean to sympathize with Him, to unite with
Him in seeking divine support, and to prepare them for what lies ahead. And to pray, for He lets them
know that it is not in their power to stand in the hour of temptation and trouble without God’s help and
assistance, which is only obtained by such prayer. This means to diligently seek divine provisions.

What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Óne hour!—upon reading this I am particularly
gripped by this short duration of time. Are you unable to do even this little thing for Me? Truly a
pathetic and sad reproof! One hour. Think about it. Some church services barely last one hour. Many
excuses have gone out on behalf of the apostles: they had such a long day; they were under extreme
stress, etc. No, no, no, with them, with you, with me, with all, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is
weak.” Mt. 26.41 Just one hour. What short perseverance we have in spiritual matters.

What failings there are to be fully engaged in matters of the Spirit. O we may do many things on
behalf of our faith, attend religious services and functions, read our Bibles and pray; but are we ever
fully engaged for the hour, fully occupied body, soul and spirit. How often the mind quickly grows
weary, the focus wanes, emotions shift here and there and, though the body is still present, and the
mind occupied with many things, the spirit sleeps. How I deeply desire to be in worshipful fellowship
with a people, including myself, fully engaged in the hour, fully focused and occupied for the hour (or
two) of worship, prayer, and ministry.

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. Christ is here calling His disciples to a greater
watching, being awake and alert. Trials, persecution, adversity, discipline, and even sin lies at the
doorstep. Instead of seeking security in the natural, pray for divine provision and strength in this hour
of need. The mind and the heart seems ready and willing to bear these trials, but the flesh, the natural
feelings thoughts and emotions, weaken in times of adversity and danger and will likely lead one

astray when the time comes. The human nature is weak and will shrink in size at trials and
temptations; we must seek strength from our LORD and Father. Watch and Pray.

There is a simple law, if you would receive it, that says, “extraordinary times of tension and stress, or
of preoccupation with the weight of critical issues, actually raises the more highly developed spiritual
life; while such times stupefies, or make dull, the less developed; meaning, the spiritually mature as
the former and spiritual children, even infants, as the latter. This instance of the Garden of
Gethsemane finds the greatest contrast of spiritual watchful and sleep; the spiritually mature becoming
fully engaged in the hour, while the spiritual infants grow drowsy and fall to sleep spiritually. This law
holds true regardless of one’s natural age, stature, or credentials; for it is spiritual involving the inward
man of the heart.

This is now our hour in the Garden with Christ. We are presently in the hour when we need to be
aware of the spiritual darkness and oppression that has come upon the Church today and upon each and
every saint therein. We must become awaken be watchful, and come before God in prayer like never
before. We must consider the trials and temptations upon ourselves, but also the great trials and
temptations that have come upon the Church in our neighborhood and around the world. Cries of
persecution and oppression are being heard from the Church in every country; cries of political
oppression, of physical persecutions, and encroachment of sin. This is a real spiritual crisis in the
Church today. Hear the voice of our Lord, “Stay here and watch with Me.”

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