|Are You Still Sleeping?
By George Stroh
September 20, 2010
And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, 'So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak'" (Matthew 26:40-41)
On the night that He was betrayed, Jesus took His disciples to a place called Gethsemane to pray. This was a secluded, quiet garden of Olive trees where Jesus frequently went to rest and pray. That night He took some of His disciples with Him and asked them to remain behind, watch and pray, while He went a little further ahead to pray. However, three different times when He returned to them, He found them sleeping.
There is more instruction for us here than just the fact that those disciples were probably very tired and kept following asleep that night when they should have been watching and praying. The Church and individual Christians today also need to be exhorted to wake-up, keep watching and praying.
I think the western world, including the USA, has significantly deteriorated culturally, economically and especially spiritually over the last 100 years, in large part, because the Church has become apathetic and indifferent. Much like the disciples in Gethsemane, rather than watching and praying, we keep falling asleep. Jesus said that His followers are to be "salt and light" in the world; "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)
As Christians, we know that the Bible promises that a day of reckoning is coming, and maybe soon; "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." (Romans 1:18). Just like those disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, the unbelievers are ignorant about what is ahead. They are living their lives as if there is no God, no second coming of Jesus Christ and no day of judgment; "...Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Instead of warning of the coming judgment for ungodliness (sin) and proclaiming the forgiveness of sin provided through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, much of the Church is sleeping; "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14).
Jesus said to the disciples in Gethsemane; "Are you still sleeping and resting? Maybe we too are still sleeping and resting rather than watching, praying and preaching. Wake-up Christians! "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9). Maranatha!