Day 38: They Did Not Know What To Answer Him
Despite seeing His distress, hearing His rebukes, warnings, and pleas to watch with Him and pray, they had fallen asleep…again. When He came to them this second time, He asked, “Couldn’t you watch with me one hour?” and “Why do you sleep?” They had nothing to say.
There’s nothing in any of the narratives that show any of them said anything in prayer, or anything to encourage or comfort Jesus. He hadn’t asked them to pray for Him but for themselves, however they evidently didn’t feel enough urgency in that arena of need to prompt them to stay alert and pray. Did their eyes meet His anguished gaze as He questioned them, or did they stare down at their dusty feet in shame for their failure?
There are many ways we may relate to these disciples and their feelings in the Garden. How many of us may have slept—literally or figuratively—when God called us to be alert, or invited us to intimate encounters with Him? Perhaps we have awakened to the loss, realizing we have missed an opportunity or failed in carrying out His will, and we have nothing to say in excuse for our lapse. Spurgeon says, “Brethren and sisters, are any of you sleeping under similar circumstances—while Christ’s church is suffering—while Christ’s cause is suffering—while Christ’s people are suffering—while trial is coming upon you…? Are you, instead of being roused to a higher and intenser devotion, sinking into deeper sleep? If so, Christ may, in His great love excuse you, but I beg you not to begin making excuses for yourself. Nay, rouse ye, brethren.”
It doesn’t really do us any good to make excuses when we fail the Lord. Whether we’ve fallen asleep because our flesh is weak, or we’re distracted, or we’re spiritually dull, or we’ve ignored the urgency of the hour despite His pleas, we may have reasons for our continued sleep, but no excuses. He knows what we are made of, our failings, and our weakness, and is patient with us, but He also rebukes. He challenges us to step up, to obey—knowing that He never asks what He doesn’t enable, so failure on our part stems from our own disobedience. It leaves us nothing to say but what He said, “Thy will be done,” followed by doing what He did—the complete will of God, through dependence on Him.
• How often do you have a sense you have let the Lord down by failure to follow His invitation or command? How do you react when you realize what you’ve done? Excuse? Rationalize? Give up? Pray for renewed passion?
• What attitude do you think Jesus has about you when you fail? How does that feeling square up with what Scripture says?
I confess that I fail too often just because I have not prayed, I have not stayed awake, I’ve lacked passion for Your revealed will, and failed to obey. When I’ve messed up, don’t let me waste time in regrets and making excuses, but lead me to repent, seek Your strength through prayer, and move on to full
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries