Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” (Mark 14:32-42)
He Was Tired Also
The event planned before the world was created had come. There would be no more sermons to preach, multitudes to heal or parables to exhort the disciples. Everything was now to be focused on the final journey Jesus would take to a certain death on a piece of wood. He knew this day would come. Many times He told His disciples of the horrible manner He would be treated by the Jewish leaders and how they would crucify Him. The Lord understood it was for this purpose He had come. The Passover was finished. Twelve disciples had seen the servitude of their Master in the washing of their feet. Judas was now off planning how to arrest Jesus as He lingered in the garden. Eleven men were weary from the past few days. One man looked forward to something so horrible He shuttered at the thought.
Jesus needed to pray. Taking Peter, James and John the Lord went some distance from the eight remaining disciples to spend time talking to His Father. Telling the three He was greatly troubled He asked them to remain vigilant as he went a little further to pray. While Jesus was off begging the Father to find another way the disciples could not hold their eyes open and fell asleep. Admonished by their Teacher the disciples tried to remain alert but to no avail. As He left for a second time their eyes fell under the heavy sway of sleep. Returning a third time and finding them asleep He told to awaken and prepare for a coming mob. How this must have disheartened the Lord.
If Jesus would have gotten any sleep it would have been some time Wednesday night. Part of the story of the cross is the diminished physical condition of the Lord when they nailed Him to the cross. He would last about six hours writhing in incredible pain but exhaustion was a deadly factor also. Along with dehydration the torment of Jesus was immense. As He prayed in the garden Jesus was tired too. In fact, He was probably more tired than the disciples but they did not know what was coming. The reason they succumb to the power of sleep is they did not know who was coming or what was about to happen. Jesus knew and He was praying to His Father for strength to endure the horrible rigors of the next few days. How tired He must have been.
The picture of Jesus in the garden is one of remarkable love. Here is a man who knows how He will die in a matter of hours praying through a veil of exhaustion and yet fully in control of everything around Him. How His body must have longed for just a little rest but there was no time. Following the prayers in the garden He is arrested and taken before the Jewish and Roman councils, condemned, scourged, mocked and forced to carry His cross which He was unable to bear. Fatigue overwhelmed every fiber of His body as they took Him to Golgotha and nailed Him to a cross. The worst was yet to come. Crucifixion required the strength to pull oneself up by nailed hands just to have a breath of air. Where did Jesus find that needed energy? How did He do that? He loved me. As tired as He was He loved me to die for me.
No man can know his true self, caught between this potential for depravity and this potential for divinity, except in the light of what happened on Calvary. (Stuart LeRoy Anderson, Way, June, 1963)