15.02.05 Mt. 26:43-46 (See also Mk. 14:40-42)
JESUS PRAYS A THIRD TIME
43 And He came again and found them sleeping, because they could not keep their eyes open.
44 After leaving them, He went away again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the time is near. The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up; let’s go! See, My betrayer is near.”
The issue is not that they fell asleep again, but that they did so three times. Essentially, the number three indicates that they emphatically said they didn’t care to understand the struggle Jesus was enduring.
Just as Elijah had done centuries earlier (1 Kg. 17:21) and Paul would do later (2 Cor. 12:8), Jesus prayed a third time. The Gethsemane experience was the preparation for Calvary, but before He could yield His body as a sacrifice for sin on the cross, He had to yield His will and desire to the Father. Only then was He ready to die. While the shed blood, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the salvation for those who believe, the agony of Gethsemane is often overlooked. These events, including the last Passover Seder, should be seen as a single event, but as progressive sacrificial event for the salvation of humanity that Jesus created and dearly loves.