Matthew 26:40

40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?

Matthew 26:40 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 26:40

And he cometh unto the disciples
The three he took with him, Peter, James, and John, after he had finished his prayer;

and findeth them asleep:
many things might contribute to, and bring this drowsiness upon them; as the great fatigue they had had in preparing the passover in the day, the plentiful meal they had eaten at night, though without excess, and the lateness of the night, it being now probably midnight; but the chief reason of their sleepiness was their sorrow, as is expressed in ( Luke 22:45 ) , what Christ had said to them of his soul troubles, and what they saw in him, had filled their hearts with sorrow, which brought on them an amazement and stupidity of mind; and this issued in sleep. We have other instances of persons in excessive grief and trouble falling asleep, as Elijah in ( 1 Kings 19:4 1 Kings 19:5 ) , and Jonah in ( Jonah 1:5 ) , so that this did not arise from a secure, lazy, indolent frame of spirit; or from any disregard to Christ, and neglect of him, and unconcernedness for him; but from their great sorrow of heart; for, the trouble and distress that he was in, added to the causes above mentioned. Though some have thought, that Satan might be, concerned in it, who induced this sleepiness, or increased it, that he might the more easily surprise them with his temptations, he was preparing for them, which I will not deny. Now, though this sleep was natural bodily sleep, which the disciples fell into, yet was an emblem of, and carried in it a resemblance to, the spiritual sleep and drowsiness of the people of God; for as this was after a delightful entertainment and conversation with Christ at the passover and Lord's supper, so it sometimes is, that the children of God fall into a sleepy frame of soul, after much communion with Christ, as the church did in ( Song of Solomon 5:1 Song of Solomon 5:2 ) , and as this sleep befell them, when Christ was withdrawn a little space from them; so it was with the church, when her beloved was absent from her, ( Song of Solomon 3:1 ) ( 5:2 ) , and with the wise virgins when the bridegroom tarried, ( Matthew 25:6 ) , and as this was not an entire thorough sleep; they knew all the while what Christ was doing, and could relate, as they have done, the circumstances of it; so the children of God, when asleep, they are not like unregenerate persons, in a dead sleep of sin, that hear, and see, and feel, and know nothing; but though they are asleep, their hearts are awake, as was the church's, ( Song of Solomon 5:2 ) , yet as the disciples were so much asleep, that the bare words of Christ did not arouse them from it for a while; so such is the sleep of the saints sometimes, that they are not to be aroused by the bare ministry of the word, though the most powerful arguments, and the most moving and melting language are made use of, as were with the church, ( Song of Solomon 5:2-4 ) ,

and saith unto Peter, what! could ye not watch with me one hour?
This was said particularly to Peter, because he had so lately, in such a confident manner, declared, that he would not be offended with Christ, but abide with him, stand by him, and even die with him, was there an occasion for it; and yet, in so short a space of time, was fallen asleep, as were the rest who said the same things also: and it is as if Christ should say, how will you be able to stand by me throughout this night, when ye cannot watch with me so much as one hour, though I so earnestly desired you to tarry here, and watch with me, and you saw in what distress I was in? how will you be able to withstand the temptations that will beset you quickly, and perform your promises of love, fidelity, constancy, and close attachment to me, in the greatest dangers, when you cannot keep yourselves awake one hour for my sake?

Matthew 26:40 In-Context

38 Then he said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me."
39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want."
40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
42 Again he went away for the second time and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.