Summary: Standing at the thresh-hold of amazing changes, do we tend to fall asleep?
Matthew 26: 36-46
Pastor Dave Campbell
Take a walk with me to the edge of the Garden of Gesthemane, but you will need to remove your shoes because we are treading on holy ground. Jesus is in travail of soul as He communes with His Father as a Roman cross awaits Him the next day. Every human fiber of His being shutters in horror at the very thought of this cruel and agonizing form of torture. The Lord had invited three of His disciples to share this crucial moment but three times He had to wake them up to pray. These sleepy-eyed followers of Christ just did not understand the gravity of this event and the urgency of it was lost upon them. This was without a doubt, the most monumental moment in history! In a few short hours, the battle of the ages would be decided. Very soon, redemption would be won and the world reconciled back to God. All creation stood still. Millions of holy angels watched in awe and the demons of hell trembled! All eternity will focus on this moment as one Man will go the distance for lost, sinful souls. Yet the expedience of this hour at the garden completely passed them by! Three things come to mind as I read this story:
1. THEY WERE NOT TUNED IN.
Because of their lack of spiritual alertness they were:
a. Insensitive to His voice.
Just the tone of the voice of Jesus should have clued them in (vs. 38). Apparently they must have thought it was just another prayer session (as if there is such a thing as "just another prayer session" with Jesus). In Rev. 2&3 we see the phrase appearing over and over: "He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches".
b. Impervious to His needs.
He awoke out of His sleep for them on the stormy seas, yet they missed the opportunity to do the same for Him. Between the lines I hear Jesus saying: "Watch with me, comfort me, be with me at this most difficult hour. Feel what is on my heart. Shed a tear with me."
When they fell asleep, they couldn’t have been more unkind.
c. Ignorant of the times.
Again, they seemed to be unaware of the importance of this holy moment.
2. THEY WERE OVERWHELMED BY THEIR WEAKNESS.
No doubt they had good intentions. Like most of us, they wanted to do what pleased the Lord, but their bodies couldn’t keep pace with their souls. Their "eyes were heavy," indicating that perhaps they really tried, but sleep got the better of them.
May I tell you something you already know? PRAYER TAKES EFFORT! The flesh doesn’t enjoy it. You can do anything else: toil all night fishing when they’re not biting, cut off someone’s ear, but pray late into the night? Our carnal nature doesn’t care for it.
3. THEY WERE UNPREPARED FOR THE EVENTS WHICH FOLLOWED.
The next few hours and days would require much spiritual strength and resolve (vs. 41). A look at Peter’s life tells the story. The string of failures that followed him in the next little while included: cutting off Malchus’ ear, joining the fellowship of Christ’s enemies, complete confusion and of course his three denials of His Saviour and Lord.