My sermon last Sunday focused on Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane (“olive press”) found in Mark 14.32-42.
In the midst of the agony Jesus was feeling, he was also greatly concerned for Peter, James, and John, who were supposed to “keep watch” with Jesus. I love the question Jesus asked his friends when he found them sleeping a short distance away …
Simon, are you asleep?
Their sleepiness was understandable. It was late (probably after midnight) and they had just completed an extra intense Passover Seder. Jesus had warned them throughout the night his suffering was about to begin, and that in the process, one of them would betray him, one would deny him, and they all would desert him!
That would have been a good time to stay alert!
Jesus said …
Stay awake and pray that you won’t give into temptation!
Jesus asked his friends to keep watch, to stay alert, to stay awake … to live ready.
I’ve always remembered a quote I read a long time ago by Smith Wigglesworth …
Live ready. If you have to get ready when the opportunity comes your way, it will be too late. Opportunity does not wait, not even while you pray. You must not have to get ready, you must live ready at all times.
I wonder how often God asks us if we’re asleep. Jesus, who wanted his friends to be alert that fateful night, also wants us to be on guard and to pray that we won’t give in when we are tested.
Peter learned that lesson the hard way. Years later, he challenged Christ-followers in a letter …
Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. (1 Peter 5.8)
It’s an important lesson for us, too. We must stay awake, be alert, be on guard, and live ready!