And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow.
Sleeping Rather Than Praying
Just before Jesus went to the cross, He asked the disciples to stay there and pray so that they wouldn’t fall into temptation (Luke 22:4), but when He returned they were fast asleep. It does say that they were sleeping for sorrow, but was that sorrow for themselves knowing that Jesus had previously said that He was going away? Regardless, they were sleeping when they should have been awake and praying. I cannot cast any stones at them, for I myself have been guilty of this, sometimes falling asleep before or during my prayers. I have been sleeping on the job, too, and part of our Christian duty is to pray for one another and to pray that we don’t fall into temptation.
The Hour of Betrayal and They’re Sleeping
Once more Jesus comes back to them to wake them and tell them to rise so that they will not enter into temptation (Luke 22:46). Is there something about sleeping and not praying and being vulnerable to temptation? This might be what Jesus was trying to tell the disciples and, by extension, is trying to tell us. When we sleep, whether it means a literal or a figurative sleepiness, we are more prone to temptation, and when we fail to pray, we are setting ourselves up for temptation that can overwhelm us and cause us to sin. I know that I have betrayed Jesus all too often and been spiritually asleep at the wheel, and then, wham, I crash right into sin because I failed to see the warning sign of temptation.
Awakened Too Late
When Jesus woke the disciples–again–it was too late. In came the betrayer, Judas, and, of all things, He betrays Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:48), to which Jesus says, “You betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” They came out against Him with a force that was far more than adequate. Jesus somewhat rebukes them by telling them that He taught openly in the temple and now they come at Him like you would against robbers and thieves with clubs and swords (Luke 22:52-53)? Wasn’t that overkill? Later when Jesus was taken, as Jesus prophesied (Luke 22:31-34), Peter denies even knowing Jesus, not once or twice but three times (Luke 22:54-62). Perhaps if Peter had stayed awake and prayed, he might not have succumbed to temptation, but I cannot judge Peter. How can I be sure I wouldn’t have done the exact same thing? I probably would have.
A Closing Prayer
Great, righteous God, You have done so much so that I could be forgiven of so much. The cost of my redemption cannot ever be measured, nor could I ever repay, but I know that I am grateful for being saved by He Who knew no sin, and He became sin for me (2 Cor 5:21) who knew all too well about sin. For this I thank You Lord, in Jesus’ name.
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