JANUARY 26
 
Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 27
     Esther 3
     Matthew 26
     Acts 26
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''Then He said to them, ''My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." (Matthew 26:38)
''Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, 'What, could you not watch with Me one hour'?''(Matthew 26:40)
 
WATCHING WITH JESUS
            When our Lord went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray, His fellowship with the Father was beyond human comprehension. The agony was beyond description. It is the agony of God and man in one Person coming face to face with sin.  Gethsemane and Golgotha represents something totally unique - they are the gateway into life for us.
            The truth is that Jesus was not agonizing over His death on the cross. He knew He had come with the purpose of dying. He struggled whether or not He could get through this as the Son of Man. This was Satan's final assault against our Lord as the Son of Man. Once again, the enemy was thoroughly defeated, as he had been earlier in his wilderness temptation. The agony of Gethsemane was the Son of God fulfilling His destiny as the Savior of the world. It gives us a little insight of what He went through for us to become sons of God. Because of His agony there, all of us have been provided with a way of access into the very presence of God.
            As Jesus went to this place of prayer He told His disciples to ''watch with Me.'' In the early part of our Christian life, we do not watch with Jesus, we watch for Him. In this passage Jesus is saying to His disciples, '' I want you to identify with Me in what I am about to go through."
            At this point the Disciples loved Jesus Christ to the limit of their natural capacity, but they did not fully understand His purpose. That's why they all forsook Him and fled, but it was not long afterwards that ''they were  all filled with  the  Holy Spirit . . .'' (Acts 2:4) When the Disciples had been invaded and filled with the ''Holy Spirit'', they were able to watch with Him the rest of their lives.
            In Gethsemane the disciples went to sleep. Can you imagine the despair they felt when their Lord had to awaken them? That had to be the most embarrassing moment for those followers of Jesus. But notice what our Lord said to them- ''Rise, let us be going." (Matthew 26:46) He was simply saying to them, ''You blew it, but get over it. It's time to go on to the next thing." In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.
            There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. There will be disappointment, discouragement and despair over our unfaithfulness to Him. We will know that we have blown it. But as He did for them, our Lord will do for us. He will remind us to get up and move forward and do the next thing. What is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to know that what happened at Gethsemane has provided us deliverance from our failures. It is indeed time for us to ''...rise and be going.''
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            Asia is a continent of dynamic growth. Many economists believe that the Pacific Rim nations will dominate the 21st Century. Japan is now a world leader in per capita wealth. South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore are not far behind. Even India, China and Indonesia are showing rapid economic growth. Many of the nations find themselves in stagnating poverty. It is urgent for believers to pray for the Gospel of Christ to make an impact in the face of the social and economic contrast.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
            ''The Son of God dropped to the dirt in an olive grove - Gethsemane - and vomited in His soul at the prospect before Him. Eleven men who would later change world history - some accustomed to working all night on their fishing boats - could not keep awake for the scene...but the bleachers of Heaven filled to capacity that night - and Hell strained its neck to see how the spectacle in that lonely acre would end. The Father gazed down and gave an approving nod, the Son stared back and bowed His acceptance.''
Joni Eareckson Tada