Friday, November 27, 2009

The suggestion

It was good advice but the men slept instead.

Jesus had gone to the Mount of Olives, as he usually did, and the disciples followed. They gave the appearance of wanting to join Jesus and he made a suggestion: "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."

Then Jesus entered into some heavy-duty conversation with the Father.

But the night air was heavy, the Passover meal settling into their stomachs, and the disciples didn't stay awake. While Jesus battled in prayer, they snoozed.

Jesus awoke them, repeated his warning, and continued to pray.

When the mob came to arrest him, Jesus had strengthened himself in the Father, ready to walk forward in the will of God.

The disciples had slept instead.

Which preparation worked out better?

Temptation did come, just as Jesus had predicted. Jesus could have swept the crowd aside with a wave of his hand. He could have refused to walk the road of humiliation, pain and death. The coming separation from the Father which caused him anguish on the cross ("My God, why have you forsaken me?") might have tempted him to change the plan.

It didn't.

But the disciples didn't fare so well. Peter denied him publicly three times. The other disciples ran away. Their fear was so great they were suspicious of the women's report on Sunday morning.

Peter had boldly promised that he would follow Jesus to prison or death but, when the time came, he couldn't stand up to a servant girl.

How had the disciples tumbled so quickly? They had slept rather than prayed.

We face temptations as well. What are we doing with our time?

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