It was a terribly stressful moment in the biblical narrative. Jesus had told his disciples that one of them would betray him over a meal with wine and they stayed awake through the night singing hymns and walking to a dark garden to pray. Jesus petitions with his Father to take the cup that was coming away, but he was willing to take it on… not his will but the Father’s be done. Then he checks on his mates, to see if they are watching and praying with him.
“And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:37-38 ESV)
I don’t how many times I have read this piece of the story and mentally condemned the disciples. I mean come on, couldn’t they just stay awake and back up the man they loved and followed. But as I get old, i find myself more and more like these disciples. Tired and asleep at the moments I had hoped to be vigilant.
Here is the kicker. While Jesus challenges Peter (Simon) and says his flesh is weak he doesn’t give up on him. In fact, this Peter who would deny Jesus boldly in a few short hours, would never be abandoned by Christ. Jesus didn’t discard the sleepy disciples, in fact he will empower them and use them to change the world.
Do you ever find yourself resting on the rocks like the disciples? Here are two things for you to do and consider when you do.
1. Get some rest.
Jesus came to give the weary rest and in fact, in our weakness (the weak flesh) he is strong, revealed as our strength. You body is made for rest and rather than add stimulants to an exhausted body, take a nap. Breathe clean air, stay hydrated and rest. As you care for your body and pursue healthful rest, you will be more prepared for the garden moments when you need to be alert. Make rest part of the routine. Go look at some jellyfish. Take a day off. Walk around the block. Rest.
2. Know Jesus still claims you.
Jesus never falls asleep when you need prayer. In fact, at this very moment he is petitioning the Father on your behalf. Constantly. In him you have spiritual rest and knowing that he claims you still, even when you are exhausted, will allow you to physically rest without worry like you are missing something. You are his and he will never abandon you.