Read: Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; Luke 22:39-46
“Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners’” (Matthew 26:45 NIV).
Reflect: My dear friends were leaving the country, and we were taking them to the airport late one night. It was a difficult time for them, and I knew it. We had served with them, and we loved them dearly. It was one of those times when I needed to go to the airport, and yet, I was exhausted.
As I began asking questions, I found myself drifting off to sleep. This happened not once, but several times. Though I tried to fight it, I could not stay awake. Even in the moment, I knew that it was important, and yet I could not stay focused on her responses. Worn out and sleep deprived, my efforts to support her in her time of need amounted to nothing. I was completely embarrassed and disappointed with myself. How could I fall asleep when my friend needed me?
The disciples must have felt this, too. Jesus had fed them and washed their feet. He tried to explain that He was giving His life for them when He blessed the bread and gave them the cup. When Jesus took them to the garden with Him, He wanted them to be present with Him. He tried to explain His sorrow to them in Matthew 26:38 (NIV): “Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’” Yet, they could not keep watch. They fell asleep.
Respond: Imagine yourself at the garden of Gethsemane. Do you think you might fall asleep in the garden as you wait with Jesus? Surely, we would be different! When Peter heard that he would deny Jesus three times, Peter was sure that he would not. But he did.
We would likely be much the same. How could we fall asleep in Jesus’ time of need?
Based on my experience, I’m pretty sure that I would have been asleep with the other disciples. So often, we hear Jesus speak to us telling us about the work He has for us. We want to do it with enthusiasm, but we grow weary.
This Easter, let’s go back to the garden and pray. Let’s ask Jesus to give us His vision and His strength to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).
Claudia Johnson, CWLC leadership consultant