Wake Up

They came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and [Jesus] said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”

He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.

Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” (Mark 14:32-42)

Sleeping on your job will get you fired. But three times Jesus found his disciples sleeping. Three times he tried to awaken them. The first two times to join him in prayer. The last time so they could witness his betrayal.

All along, he had told his disciples what was going on. And all along, the disciples just didn’t get it. Had they understood the necessity of praying this night, had they known that in only a short hour their master would be arrested and taken away to be crucified, they would have doubtless acted differently. But how many times had they been with Jesus when he went off to pray? Jesus prayed all the time. How was this night different from all the others? That very question was probably on their minds, since every Passover, a child was supposed to ask that question.

How is this night different from all others? Jesus changed the meaning of the bread and wine, the meaning of prayer, and the meaning of being the Messiah. The world would never be the same after Jesus fulfilled his destiny. Jesus’ disciples weren’t his employees. They weren’t his servants. They were his brothers—and his friends. We don’t work for Jesus. We’re part of his family.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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