When Jesus rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.” (LK 22:45-46)
(Luke doesn’t like to talk about the failures of the disciples. He excuses their sleep, saying it was “from grief.”)
Twice in the last six verses Jesus tells the disciples to pray that they may not undergo the test. This is the same Greek word Luke used earlier for Jesus’ temptation in the desert, and in the Our Father when Jesus said,”…lead us not into temptation.”
What is this “test/temptation?” It’s not your run-of-the-mill kind. It’s the big one. Is there a God, really? Is evil going to win after all? Am I wasting my time trying to lead a decent life? At death, do I simply dissolve into nothingness?
You can’t go through life without having these kinds of doubts, probably more than once. Jesus faced this question head-on with the devil in the desert, and he’s facing it here in Gethsemane.
It’s a good topic for conversation with the Lord. He was truly human, and had to deal with human thoughts and feelings. It wasn’t always a waltz.
Not that I disbelieve the great truths. It’s just that my belief sometimes has holes in it. When Jesus told the father of the sick boy to have faith, the father replied with words I can make my own: “I do believe. Help my unbelief.” (MK 9:24)