The sleeping disciples; read Matthew 26:36-46 (below) for full details, but here is my summary. Following the last supper, Jesus took his disciples to the garden of Gethsemane, where he went to pray. Three times he went a little way from them to pray. Each time Jesus came back from praying, he found the disciples asleep. Jesus’ prayer was about God taking the burden of the cross from Him, but he preferred to do God’s will.
Jesus wanted their prayer support and they couldn’t do it. Jesus needed his friends to stay awake and be with him. But, his disciples fell asleep. Peter, James & John… all three of them – dead to the world. It’s like when you stretch out on your couch to watch the big game or a favorite movie and you fall asleep and miss how it ends. You missed the best part.
God wants us awake and alert, not only to serve Him, but for Him to equip us to serve others. He will make us more like Jesus and send us out so His work can be done through us. He calls us to actively listen for His direction and to readily to say “yes.”
It’s difficult for us to get angry with the disciples who couldn’t pull an all-nighter. When I’m sleepy, I go quickly, like within a few minutes. But, something was different with their sleep. For Jesus to believe they should have stayed awake, it means they could have. For the disciples to be speechless when he wakes them up, demonstrates they were uneasy with having fallen asleep. Don’t fall asleep when Jesus asks you to do something.
Do not sleep while the greatest spiritual battle goes on in the world around us. Stay awake and PRAY!! The hour has come!
Matthew 26:36-46 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
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. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
From here Jesus went on to His trial and crucifixion before He rose from the dead to conquer sin and death for our salvation.