Sermon 3033. Why Christ Is Not Esteemed

(No. 3033)




"We esteemed Him not." Isaiah 53:3.

This must be the universal confession of the human race. From the highest monarch to the meanest peasant, from the loftiestintellect to the most degraded mind, from the admired of all men to the unknown and insignificant, this one confession mustcome-"We esteemed Him not." Whether we examine the sensualist rioting in the delights of the flesh or the formalist starvinghis body to fatten his pride, the merchant laboring to acquire wealth or the spendthrift recklessly scattering gold with bothhis hands, the profligate black with profanity, the moralist rejoicing in his goodness, or even the devoted Christian, weshall make them all acknowledge that either now or at some past period, they esteemed not Jesus! We make no exception, foreven the holiest of God's saints, those who now are-

"Foremost of the sons of light, Nearest the eternal Throne"- those who have washed their robes and made them white in theblood of the Lamb-even they once "esteemed Him not." And the brightest saints still upon the earth, those who are most earnestlyand faithfully serving the Savior, at one time "esteemed Him not." I am going, first, to prove that this was true. Next, todive deeper and try to find out the reasons why we esteemednot Jesus. And, afterwards, I want to remind you ofthe emotionswhich this fact ought to create in our minds-the fact that at one time-and in the case of many of us it was true not manyyears ago that "we esteemed Him


I. First, then, I have TO PROVE THAT THIS WAS TRUE.

Look, then, my Friends, first, at the overt acts of your transgression against the Lord Jesus Christ Go back in imaginationto the scenes of your youth and recollect your former transgressions. Some of you have your heads covered with the snows ofmany a winter and you have been for 40 or 50 years wearing the harness of the soldiers of Jesus Christ. You have fought thegood fight ever since you enlisted under the blood-stained banner of the Cross, yet you can never forget some things thathappened before that happy day when you first sang from your heart-

"'Tis done! The great transaction's done- I am my Lord's, and He is mine." It might not be profitable to mention in detailthose sins of long ago, yet some of you have a very vivid remembrance of them and, although the Lord has graciously forgiventhem and blotted them out of His Book of Remembrance, your own conscience will not let you forget them.

There are others of you who were, either by your early associations, or by the restraints of Sovereign Grace, kept from openlysinning against God as many others did, yet you know that your lives were not in accordance with the Law of God. You were,in comparison with many of your fellows, moral, upright, amiable, yet, as far as Christ was concerned, you "esteemed Him not."Your friends and companions could find no fault with your character, but you know, now, that all the while there was a fatalflaw which was plainly manifest to the eyes of God. In the case of some, the apparent excellence was all on the surface, but,underneath there was a mass of rottenness and sin of which they can only think now with shame and sorrow. That, too, has allbeen forgiven and forgotten by God-yet it lingers in their own remembrance in a most salutary fashion, for it makes them hateall forms of iniquity and turn from them with utter loathing.

Besides the overt acts of sin which some of you committed-and the less public but none the less deadly evils of which othersof you were guilty-there was further evidence that you did not esteem Christ in the fact that you did not esteem His Wordas you should have done. Possible, just to quiet your conscience, you read a chapter from it in the morning and another inthe evening, or you listened to it while your parents read it at family prayer. But how dull and dry it seemed to you! Youcould revel in a novel and be completely fascinated with fiction, but the Inspired Truth of God was a weariness and a burdento you. I must honestly confess that before I knew the Lord, or was seriously seeking Him, although I found the historicalparts of the Bible interesting, a great portion of the Scriptures appeared to me to be dull and meaningless. As for anyonereading the Word as a treat, I could no more understand how that could be done than a blind man could appreciate the beautiesof the scenery that could be discerned by sightseers on the top of a mountain! I might perhaps be mentally charmed by somebeautiful passages in the Bible, but as to its hidden spiritual meaning, I had no true perception. If I were sick and in fearlest I was about to die, down would come my Bible and I would read it diligently for a while! But as for taking it as my everydaycompanion-that idea never occurred to me until the Holy Spirit began to work conviction in my heart. And then I was glad enoughto turn to the neglected Book to find an answer to the all-important question, "What must I do to be saved?" If you, my Brothersand Sisters in Christ, could each one relate your own experience, I expect you would, many of you, have to join with me insaying, "We esteemed Him not, for we did not hold in proper esteem the Sacred Scriptures in which He had been revealed tous."

many privileges, in this enlightened age-and some of whom even profess and call themselves Christians! Instead of bowing downto blocks of wood and stone, or worshipping the sun, moon and all the host of heavenly bodies, they are worse heathens thaneven you are, for they prostrate themselves before themselvesand adore their own merits, their own good deeds, their own charity,and so on! Christian, was not this the reason why you did not esteem Christ-because self was everything to you in the daysof your unregeneracy? If anyone had then told you that your heart was corrupt to its very core, what would you have replied?You would have answered, "I feel that I am as good as anyone else whom I know and better than most of those I see around me."If you had been informed that all your good works were but varnished sins and that the very best of them were foul and fullof faults, would not your blood have boiled with indignation? Or if someone had told you that your best righteousness wasonly like a heap of filthy rags, fit for nothing but to be burned, you would surely have replied, "I have a righteousnessof which I have no reason to be ashamed. And although I do not say that it is perfect, yet I hope I shall have as good a chanceof standing before God's Throne as anybody else will have."

"Such were some of you" and, as long as you thus highly esteemed yourselves, of course you did not esteem the Lord Jesus Christ!Does the man who is in perfect health esteem the physician? If all were always well, who would care for the doctors? Wouldthey not laugh them to scorn? Does the man who is rich hold in high esteem the one who would give him alms? "No," he says,"give your alms to those who need them. I do not require them." Will a man who has the proper use of his limbs care for crutches?"No," he says, "hand them over to the lame. I have no need of them." In like manner, we did not esteem Christ because we feltthat we had no need of Him. We thought that we could do very well without Him, at least for the present. There might comea time when He might be able to give us a lift over a fence, or if we came to a muddy place in the road, He might be willingto lay His cloak down for us to step on so that we might not soil our feet. But as for the rest of our journey, we thoughtwe could get on very well by ourselves, though we might be glad for Christ to help us into Heaven at the last. Perhaps noone of us would have put the matter quite so plainly as I have done, but that would have been the practical effect of ourself-esteem-and that is why we did not esteem Christ, for self-love had completely engrossed our hearts. Self and the Saviorcan never live in one heart. He will have all, or none. So, where self is on the throne, it cannot be expected that Christshould meekly come and sit upon the footstool.

Another reason why we esteemed not Jesus was because we esteemed the world so highly. We were like the man of whom John Bunyantells us, who was quite willing that others should have the joys of the world to come so long as he could have all that hewanted in the present life. The worldling still says, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," and to him this presentevil world is the bird in the hand-and he thinks of all the bliss of Heaven as though it were but a bird in the bush. "Letme live while I live," he says, "and have all the happiness that I can here. And let them have the next world who can winit." With some of us, it is not very long ago since we also talked like that-and scorned the glories that are everlasting!And we put far away from us Jesus Christ and His great salvation. "We esteemed Him not" because we loved the earth and allits follies, because we were so busy gathering its poisoned dust into heaps, or delighting ourselves in its unsatisfying pleasures.It is not until the rope is cast loose that the balloon can soar above the clouds-and it is not until the cord that bindsus to the things of this earth has been cut that our soul can hope to mount towards the things which are unseen and eternal!Until we have been weaned from the world, we shall never esteem Jesus as the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovelyOne in whom is all our delight!

A third reason why we did not esteem Christ was because we did not know Him. It is true that we knew a great deal aboutHim,but we did not know HIM. We had read what the Evangelists had recorded concerning Him. We knew much concerning His doctrines.Perhaps we had even tried to keep some of His precepts, yet we did not personally and savingly know Him. There is a greatdistinction between knowing about Christ and knowing Christ Himself-between knowing what He did and knowing Who and what Heis-really knowing Him in the sense in which He used that expression when He said, in His great intercessory prayer to HisFather, "This is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Yet it isonly through Him, by the Infallible instruction of His ever-blessed Spirit, that we can thus know Him! As the Apostle Johnwrites, "We know that the Son of God is come and has given us an understanding that we may know Him who is true, and we arein Him who is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." The poet was right when he wrote-

"His worth, if all the nations knew, Surely the whole world would love Him too."

And Rutherford said, "Surely, my Lord, if the whole world could see You, the whole world must love You. If You would but openonly one of Your eyes and look upon them, they must run unto You, ravished with delight, for You are so fair, my preciousJesus, that You only need to be seen to be loved." But the worldling has never seen Christ, so he does not know Christ anddoes not love Christ! Ah, poor worldling! If you had but seen my lord as I saw Him in the hour when He said to me, "I, evenI, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins"-if you could, with the earof faith, have heard that Divine declaration, sweeter even than the music of the harps of Heaven-in a single moment you wouldhave loved the Lord Jesus with such an ardent passion that the bonds of life would scarcely have been strong enough to keepyou in this clay tenement, but you would have longed to fly away and be with your beloved Lord forever! And, Worldling, couldyou have such a visit from Jesus as, now and then, the Believer is privileged to have-if you could experience but five minutesof the bliss that a Christian has, "Whether in the body, I cannot tell. Or whether out of the body, I cannot tell. God knows"-ifyou could thus be "caught up to the third Heaven" and hear unspeakable words, which it is not possible for a man to utter.If you could once behold our blessed Savior, you would be compelled to love Him, for He is so lovely, so gracious, so gloriousthat you could not any longer think unkindly of Him! Those who think wrongly of Christ have never known Him. And we who doknow Him, confess with shame that the reason why, for so long "we esteemed Him not," was because we then knew Him not.

The last reason I will mention is the very core of all the other reasons. There need be no surprise that we did not esteemChrist, for we were spiritually dead. I will suppose that there sits, away yonder, a man over whom I want to exert a certaininfluence. I will further imagine that I am a skillful musician and that I touch the strings of my harp in such a manner asto bring forth the most delightful melody, yet the man takes no notice whatever of it. Then I turn to an instrument of quiteanother sort-a cornet or a bugle-and blow a blast that startles all of you-yet that one man still gives no heed to the sound!Why is it that, charm we ever so wisely, he is like the deaf adder and regards neither the sweetest nor the shrillest or loudestnoise? I try to attract his attention in another way. I place before him the daintiest dish that the cleverest cook in allEngland can prepare, or I bring some rare delicacy from a distant land-but he regards the food no more than he did the music.I will try another plan to reach his senses. I will bring Him-

"The choicest flowers that were ever grown Since Eden's joys were blasted." I will hold them close to his face and let theirfragrance ascend to his nostrils. Yet he heeds not! What will awake him? Let Heaven's thunder peals roll like the drums inthe march of some mighty war-lord, but the man moves not. Let the lightning flash all around us till it seems as though theend of the world had come, but the man stirs not. What shall I do to awake him? Shall I beat him with a whip, or strike himwith a sword? All is in vain and, at last, I perceive that the man is dead and that all my efforts have been wasted! Now theriddle is solved, the secret revealed, the knot untied-the man is dead. And so I wonder no longer that he esteemed not music,or food, or flowers. Or that he feared not thunder, lightning, or the sword. And, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, though theHoly Spirit has quickened us, there was a time when we were "dead in trespasses and sins" and, like Lazarus in his grave,we were becoming more and more corrupt as every moment passed!

III. Now, having proved the Truth of the text, and given you various reasons why we did not esteem Christ, let me, in conclusion,ask WHAT EMOTIONS OUGHT THIS FACT TO CREATE WITHIN OUR SOULS?

First, I think that the recollection of this Truth of God, that "we esteemed Him not," ought to produce in us the deepestpenitence. I cannot understand that Christian who can look back upon his past life without a tear. If he can turn to the blackpages of his history, which not only have no record of goodness, but are full of entries concerning his sins against his presentLord and Master, and yet not weep at the remembrance of them, surely he can never have learned the true nature of sin! O Christian,it would be becoming on your part to catch the spirit, if not literally to imitate the action of that "woman in the city,who was a sinner," of whom we read that, "when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house," she, "brought analabaster box of ointment and stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe themwith the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment." Our Lord's explanation of her conductwas that "she loved much." Is it because you love your Lord so little that you do not manifest your grief over your past sinas that poor woman did? Recollect that although you did not esteem Him, He had loved you with an everlasting love and He hadpurchased your soul's redemption at the great price of

His own most precious blood! He stood before you, holding in His pierced hands the roll of the Eternal Covenant which setyour soul at liberty and gave you a full discharge! Yet you did not esteem Him. O Christian, will you not weep even at theremembrance of the way in which you did treat the best Friend you have ever had? Recollect that you did virtually nail Himto the tree and pierce Him to the heart. Dr. Watts spoke for all Believers when he wrote the self-condemning words-

"'Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins, His chief tormentors were! Each of my crimes became a nail, And unbelief the spear. 'Twasyouthat pulled the vengeance down Upon His guiltless head- Break, break, my heart, oh burst my eyes! And let my sorrows bleed."

And now, beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, having for a while allowed our penitential sorrow thus to find suitable expression,let us strike a higher note and, remembering that there was a time when we did not esteem Christ, let us now rejoice in thegreat salvation which He has procured for us. It is true that we have great reason for sorrow that we should ever have beenso vile as not to esteem Him to whom we owe everything for time and for eternity. Yet we have much more reason to adore theheight, and depth, and length, and breadth of that love of Christ which passes knowledge and which carried out to completionthe wondrous plan whereby all our iniquities have been blotted out and we have become "accepted in the Beloved!" It was rightthat we should weep at the remembrance that we were numbered among the fallen, yet it is equally right that we should rejoiceover the fact that we have been reclaimed! And what should be the very key-note of our song of rejoicing? Should it not bethe Sovereign Grace of God? The reason why the Lord chose us unto salvation was certainly not because we esteemed His Son,Jesus Christ, more than others did, for, "we esteemed Him not." If you ask me why God chose His people, I can only answerthat it is for the same reason that Christ gave concerning the things that were hidden from the wise and prudent, but revealedunto babes, "Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Your sight."

There is one other emotion which every true Christian should feel-that is hope for his fellows. If I feel sorrow for my sinand joy for my deliverance, I ought also to have hope for other people! Perhaps someone here is saying, "I have brought myson to the House of Prayer time after time and I used to hope that God would have mercy upon him, but now I have given upall hope." Stop, my Brother! Do not talk like that! Do you not remember the time when it might have been said, concerningyou and me, that we did not esteem Christ and, although your son does not now esteem Him, is that any reason why he shouldnot yet do so? On the contrary, is not the manifestation of Divine Grace in your own case an encouragement to you in hopingfor your son's conversion?

"Oh," says another venerable father, "I have long prayed in vain for one of my children. These hands, which are now palsiedwith age, have been lifted up year after year to the God of Grace, but I have lost all hope of my child's salvation." But,my hoary-headed Friend, think not that your prayers have failed, even though they still remain unanswered! They are all filedin Heaven and when the required number shall be complete, when that petition which God has determined shall be the "effectual"one shall be presented, your child shall be saved! But why should you despair concerning your dear one? You know that formany years you did not esteem Christ, yet He is "altogether lovely" to you now! Then why should not your experience be repeatedin the case of your child?

"Ah," says another, "I live in such-and-such a district among many of the worst people in London. I have tried to bring themunder the sound of the Word of God, but cannot induce even one of them to come! I feel as if I must give up even hoping fortheir salvation. They seem to me to be too bad to ever be saved." But, my dear Friend, you and I at one time did not esteemChrist-and if we really know what was in our own hearts, we shall say that these people are not much worse than we were! Yetsuppose they areas bad as you think they are-remember that striking saying of Whitefield's-"Jesus Christ is willing to receivethe devil's castaways." A very fastidious lady who heard that he said that, complained to the Countess of Huntingdon and saidhow sad it was that he should talk in such a vulgar way! The Countess said, "Mr. Whitefield is downstairs. I will send forhim and let him answer for himself." When he came up and

heard the lady's remark, he simply replied, "I had just been talking to a poor, sinful woman who had been to hear me preach,and the one thing that comforted her was the sentence to which this lady objects, 'Jesus Christ is willing to receive thedevil's castaways.'" "Ah," said Lady Huntingdon and others who agreed with her, "That is quite sufficient justification foryou."

I can testify from my own experience that God often blesses some of our rough expressions more than our highly-polished ones.I have seen so many souls saved through some of the odd and singular sayings that I have felt moved to utter that I intend,God helping me, to go on in the same style, even though some people may continue to find fault with me for doing so. I cancertainly endorse Mr. Whitefield's remark, "Jesus Christ is willing to receive the devil's castaways." However vile and foula sinner may be, I always feel, "That is just what I would have been but for the Grace of God." Therefore, instead of imitatingthe priest and the Levite who left the poor wounded traveler to die so far as they cared, I feel anxious to go to the veryworst of my fellow men and to say to them, "Why, my dear Brother, there was a time when I did not esteem Christ, so I willnot be angry with you because you say that you are not religious. I will not scold you because you do not read the Bible,or pray to God, or go to a place of worship. But I will try to win your esteem for my Master by telling you of His great loveto sinners just like you. Though He was reigning with His Father in Heaven, He gave up all His Glory and came down to earthto live just as any other poor man might have lived, only that He was without sin. He went about doing good, healing the sick,cleansing the lepers, raising the dead and, at last, He willingly gave Himself up into the hands of wicked men and died, 'theJust for the unjust, that He might bring us to


So I would try to make the Gospel very plain to my poor friend and tell him what the Lord had done for mysoul- and assurehim that, having saved me, there was no limit to His Grace and mercy! I always admire the argument of Charles Wesley in thosefamiliar lines-

"His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me."

That was the same kind of argument that Paul used when he wrote, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that inme first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for the pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him tolife everlasting." Christian men and women, as you retire from this building, I leave these thoughts with you. At one timeyou did not esteem Christ, so now you have no right to be proud of your position as His followers, but should give to Himall the glory for your salvation! And you should hope for the salvation of others, even the very worst of your fellow creatures-

"While the lamp holds out to burn, The vilest sinner may return."

You may go to the very worst haunts of sin and vice in this city or anywhere else and, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit,you may proclaim the Gospel of Christ to be the most abandoned men and women whom you can find, knowing that He is able "tosave them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for



Verse 14, 15. Then one of the twelve called Judas Iscariot went unto the chief priests and said unto them, What will you giveme, and I will deliver Him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver At what a price did the traitorsell our blessed Master! O you who have been redeemed with His precious blood, set a high value upon Him! Think much of Him,say much in praise of Him! Remember these thirty pieces of silver and never be guilty of despising the Lord of Glory, as thesechief priests did when they paid the price of a slave for Him.

16-19. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciplescame to Jesus, saying unto Him, Where will You that we prepare for You to eat the Passover? And He said, go into the cityto such a man, and say unto him, The Master says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover. See the

absolute control which Jesus has over the minds of men! He can have any man's house that He wants and He knows who will beglad to welcome Him. Yet this same Jesus was about to die-and this shows how perfectly voluntary was His Sacrifice. He wasnot forced to stand in our place, nor was He compelled to suffer except by the constraint of His own great love. All was free,as became the freedom of His Grace. Then shall not our heart's love flow out freely to Him? Shall we need to be scourged toobedience? Oh, no, Beloved! So let us think what we can voluntarily do in honor of our Divine Lord who gave His all for us.

20-22. Now when the evening was come, He sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, He said, Verily I say unto you, thatone of you shall betray Me. And they were exceedingly sorrowful, And well might they be sad.

22. And began, every one of them, to say unto Him, Lord, is it I?What anguish does that question always stir within the heartand mind of every true Believer! "Shall I ever betray my Lord and Master? Shall I ever deny or forsake Him?" God grant thatnone of us may ever do as Judas did!

23. And He answered and said, He that dips His hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me. He who had been entrustedwith the charge of the finances of the little band of Christ's immediate disciples-he who carried the bag-was the one whowas about to betray his Lord. Since then, Christ has often been betrayed by those who have been in positions of trust, thosewho have led the way among the disciples of Christ, those who have, as it were, been so familiar with Christ as to dip theirhand with Him in the dish!

24. 25. The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!It had beengood for that man if he hadnot been born. Then Judas, which betrayed Him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said untohim, You have said.Judas seems to have been the last to ask the question, "Master, is it I?" Yet he was the guilty one-theone who had already covenanted with the chief priests to sell His Lord.

26-31. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take,eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and give it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; for this isMy blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforthof this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom. And when they had sung a hymn,they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then said Jesus unto them, All you shall be made to stumble because of Me this nightfor it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. Observe our blessed Lord'shabit of quoting Scripture. He was able to utter words of Infallible Truth which had never before been used, yet He constantlyquoted from the Inspired Scriptures! Those who nowadays quibble at the Word of God and yet profess to be followers of Christ,find no excuse for their conduct in the example that He has left us, for He sometimes quoted Scripture when it might not haveseemed to be necessary to do so! Brothers and Sisters in Christ, have your Bible first in your hearts, then at the tip ofyour tongue. I was going to say at your fingertips, so that you may always be able to give a good reason-a solid and divinely-authoritativereason-for any statement that you may make!

32, 33. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto Him, Though all men shallbe made to stumble because of You, yet will I never be made to stumble.No doubt Peter said this from his heart, but "the heartis deceitful above all things." Peter may have thought that he was stronger than his brethren, yet he was the very one whoproved to be the weakest of the whole Apostolic band! "Though all men shall be made to stumble because of You, yet will Inever be made to stumble."

34. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, That this night, before the cock crow. That is to say, before that periodof time which was called the cock-crowing.

34. You shall deny Me thrice. According to Mrk'srecord, the cock was to crow once before Peter had denied his Lord thrice,and this it did. And when he had given his third denial, it crowed a second time. And then his slumbering conscience was awakenedand, "He went out and wept bitterly." Some persons who are well acquainted with the religious ceremonies of the Jews, saythat the period called the cock-crowing was the time for the sacrifice of the morning lamb, and that it was about that timethat Peter denied his Lord.

35. Peter said unto Him, Though I should die with You, yet will I not deny You. It is a great pity that Peter said this afterhe had received so plain a warning from his Master, yet he was not alone in his boasting.

35. Likewise also said all the disciples. They all felt quite sure that under no circumstances could they be so base as toforsake their Lord. And if you think of the washing of their feet by their Lord and Master, the wonderful words of Christto which they had listened and that solemn Communion Service in the large upper room, you may not be surprised that they feltthemselves bound to Christ forever-felt that they could never leave Him, nor forsake Him! Yet they all did.

36-39. Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, Sit you here, while I go and prayyonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then said He untothem, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death; tarry you here, and watch with Me. And He went a little farther,and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as Iwill, but as You will. Christ had to tread the winepress alone, yet He showed how complete was His Humanity by wishing tohave a few choice friends near at hand. Yet even the chosen three failed Him in His hour of greatest need.

40. And He came unto the disciples, and found them asleep, and said unto Peter, What? Could you not watch with Me one hour?Peter had constituted himself the spokesman of the Apostolic company, so the Master addressed the question to him, thoughit also applied to his companions-"What? Could you not watch with Me one hour?" They had all declared their devotion to Him,yet they had fallen asleep while He had bid them watch.

41-45. Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went awayagain the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Your willbe done. And He came and found them asleep again; for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went away again, and prayedthe third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples, and said unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest:behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.