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Luke 22:39 (NIV) – Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
In Luke’s account, Jesus prayed but the disciples didn’t. Or at least, not for long, if at all. They had fallen asleep. With their heads in the clouds, they drifted off into an unconscious state. They’d just celebrated the Passover with Jesus – the highlight of the Jewish year, and they were still “in the dark” so to speak about what was happening.
Remember the story of Rip Van Winkle? He fell asleep one day in a quiet spot on the banks of the Hudson River and he didn’t wake up for twenty years. When he went to sleep, the sign above his favorite tavern read: “King George III, King of England.” He was a subject of the British crown. When he woke up, King George was replaced by a different George – George Washington – and he was an American citizen. The tragic part was that he slept through a revolution.
While he snored, oblivious to his surroundings, fantastic, earth-shaking events had taken place. This is what happened to the disciples. They were oblivious to all that was taking place. Don’t be too critical of the disciples at this point. Many times we have our heads in the clouds, enclosed in our own little world and losing sight of the larger world, and sleep through great events. How many times are we preoccupied with our own self-importance? We become the prisoners of our own little world of trivialities.
We were created for greater things that trivialities. We have been invited to be participants in the greatest revolution in all of history: helping fight the battle to set people free from sin and death and introducing them to the God who loves them and wants to set them free…and to eventually bring them home safely.
We have a choice: we can sleep through “our own little world of trivialities” or we can stay awake with Jesus and for Jesus and join His revolution of peace and love. It is easier to sleep that stay awake – but staying awake is far more exhilarating. How do you want to spend your life – consumed with minutiae? What will your choice be?
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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