Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.’
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.
Matthew 26:36-45 (NIV)
As a 21st century Christian, it’s easy to get rather smug, and with the benefit of 2000 years of hindsight to think that we'd have done better than the disciples. We’d “get it” at all the places the disciples missed the point, and we’d sure be able to stay awake with Jesus on this night of all nights.
But if I’m really honest with myself, I’m no better than Peter and the others. I miss the point of what God’s doing in my life all the time, and it’s usually only with hindsight I can see His hand in things. And staying awake?? I’d be in deep slumber with the rest of them.
I’ll admit it, I'm tired.
It's been a busy term and I'm just running out of oomph.
Imagine you're out in the bush and it's a bit cold and wet (like this autumn weather has been the last few weeks) and you start shivering. That's okay because it's your body keeping itself warm, but it also consumes energy, and when that energy runs out you stop shivering, and now you're in serious danger. Don't mind me, you just carry on without me. I'll be fine, I'll just have a little rest under this tree. Anyone who knows survival would be stopping right there, organising a shelter, getting you out of your wet clothes and into a sleeping bag with a warm chocolaty drink (if you're still capable of holding the cup), and getting help.
All the strategies I’ve learned for looking after myself have been just enough to keep me coping, just like the shivering. But they’re taking up energy, and I’m getting tired. And it’s not even winter yet.
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
This Easter, I’m taking the time to rest, really rest. (And indulge in a little bit of nice rich dark chocolate…).