It is holy week … the week that the Christian church recognizes to mourn the death of Jesus and to celebrate His resurrection! It is a week of unbelievable betrayal, of loud hosanna’s, of good-bye meals and of desperate prayer.
This is a week that always sobers me and annually causes me to evaluate my faith. During this week every year, I walk up Calvary’s mountain with Jesus and carry my cross beside Him. I want Easter to force me to examine the woman that I am and the course that He has for me.
Oh … don’t worry about me. I will celebrate on Sunday! I will shout with the crowds in triumphant procession but for today…allow me to evaluate who I am and who I am becoming in the story of Christ.
Jesus took the three disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane who had been with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Peter, James and John were the three that Jesus fiercely desired to stand with Him in prayer. These were the three, Peter, James and John, who were closest to Him.
They had heard him laugh over the antics of children and had seen him cry at the tomb of Lazarus.
They had celebrated miracles with this Man Who went about only doing good.
They called Him their Teacher, their Friend and the Son of God. They knew Who He was … make no mistake about that.
But this night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, while Jesus prayed ... Peter, James and John slept.
While Jesus sweat great drops of blood ... the great triumverate snored.
While Jesus cried in agony ... the three friends, whom He trusted, slumbered.
Peter, James and John knew that Jesus was about to die the violent death of a criminal and yet they dozed and drooled. Where were their hearts of compassion? Were they faithful friends or forgetful acquaintances?
Three times Jesus came to the disciples ... and three times they were sleeping. They couldn’t wipe the sand from their eyes and thus nodded into sweet dreams while Jesus fought in agony over His destiny.
Jesus was about to be brutally murdered in order that Peter, James and John could live forever with Him. And yet they couldn’t stay up past their bedtime for Jesus. What kind of friendship is that?!
We become outraged at the seemingly careless actions of Peter, James and John and yet how often have I been caught giving into the twilight of lackadaisical behavior when Jesus calls my name?
"Carol … could you spend time with Me?”
I watch television when there are prayers to be prayed.
"Carol … could you read my Word to you?”
I read novels when there are people to be loved.
“Carol … would you worship Me?”
I snore while my culture crumbles.
Just as the Savior needed Peter, James and John ... your Savior needs you. My Savior needs me. He has entrusted us with the power of prayer. He has entrusted us with the Great Commission. He has entrusted us with the Gospel.
In this Garden, Jesus prayed, “ Not as I will ... but as You will.”
Have you ever tried praying that prayer when your life was crumbling? Have you ever prayed, “Father, Your will be done”, when faced with cruel circumstances?
If we learn nothing else from this particular event in the life of Jesus, we should learn to pray while others sleep and to desire the will of the Father above all else.
When Jesus finally roused the three from their slumber, they had a view in the moonlight of a mob coming up the western slope of Mt. Olive. After the mob, led by Judas, seized Jesus, Peter stayed in the courtyard of the high priest. It was there that Peter denied Jesus three times.
I wonder if Peter would have denied Jesus if he had prayed rather than slept. I wonder how different my life would be if I would pray ... rather than sleep.