38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
Carol McConkie, LDS General Conference, October 2015
What is the scriptural or historical context of this scripture:
After the last supper, and before the crucifixion, Christ goes with his disciples tho the garden of gethsemene. There he takes the sins of the world upon him in preparation for the atonement.
As I read Christ ask, "let this cup pass from me" as he hesitates to take the pains of the world upon him. I think of a few other prophets that have had a reaction like this to their missions and calls.
Moses hesitates to return to Egypt to free the Israelites. Exodus 4:10 Saying that he is "slow of speech"
Gideon is uncertain that he can lead the armies of Israel, or even gather them. Judges 8:15 "wherewith shall I save Israel?"
Nephi is commanded to slay Laban but he hesitates in Nephi 4:10 saying, "And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him."
The main difference that I see in all of these great men who say, "Who me?" before obeying the Lord. Jesus doesn't say, "Who me?" He knows that he is the one. But he still hesitates at the greatness of the task that is before him.
Thoughts about this scripture:
Sometimes when I look at my young children I feel the way Christ must have felt when he came back and found Peter asleep. My heart aches when Christ asks him. "could ye not watch with me one hour?" And I feel a small echo when I ask my children, "Can't you be reverent for just 5 minutes?"
I know that I am also guilty. I know that the Lord must be looking down in exasperation, "Can't you be good for just a week? Or even a day?" I think I can hear him ask in wonder at my failings in the face of all of the blessings he has given me.
This makes me want to have more patients with my children and with the Boy Scouts in my troop. It makes me want to do better in keeping the commandments of God and be a better husband and father.
And it helps me to understand Peter, and Christ, and the events that happened in his earthly ministry.
Out of this aching and understanding comes a little bit of growth and love.
How does this strengthen my testimony
I know that Christ loves us. Becuase of his great love he performed the great work of atoning for our sins. Paying the price that we might all return to him.
But he also loves us and wants us to stay with him and help him. Not because he needs our help, but because he wants us to be with him. As we labor in our small ways we come closer to him. He wants that for us.