Read Matthew 26:36-45.
It is sad to find the disciples sleeping multiple times. We give them a hard time, and perhaps they deserve it. However, they also deserve a bit more credit than they receive. Consider that for a week they have been following the very busy Master through Jerusalem during the days leading to Passover. If they were busy not listening to His teachings, they were likely answering private questions and defending Him.
Plus, in the past twenty four hours they would have heard these things (consider the effect this would have on anyone who has spent 3 years with the Master):
We often think that when they fell asleep in the garden, the did so out of apathy. Did they not care enough for the Lord and His situation?
And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
They had fallen asleep from sorrow. We get this image that they were distressed with Him. Jesus prayed in His distress. But the disciples cried themselves to sleep. Is that acceptable? In some situations, maybe, but their job was to watch and pray with Him.
They cared deeply for their Master. He had warned them what was coming.
The Lord calls us around His table. As we gather, He commands us, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:25). As I consider the great invitation to share in the blood and body of the Lord, I also share these thoughts with you. Perhaps, they will help you reflect.
Except where noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation