After serving with Jesus, witnessing his miracles, passion, and compassion leading up to this night.. His disciples NEVER SAW IT COMING.
I know personally that I sometimes stumble and fall after a high moment in my life. Maybe this is what happened to Jesus disciples. The blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, demons are exorcised, the dead rise, the multitudes fed, the storms calmed, and with just a 'pinch of faith' they learn they can even walk on water. ..
Then they witness Jesus Triumphant entry on Palm Sunday. They believed Jesus was the Messiah and they were His special 'spiritual entourage'.
Who wouldn’t be riding high? Their time with Jesus was the spiritual and emotional adrenaline rush that is beyond my comprehension.
BUT. then on Thursday night Jesus shares the emotional LAST SUPPER with a heartfelt with a servant's heart sharing the bread and cup. Of course in my BP mind I see a bad carb moment but I digress.
Next they are led by Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is feeling the weight of what is about to happen, and so does what we all should do when troubled.. Jesus Prays.
He asks his disciples to "watch and pray". , but being so very human and so very tired did not comprehend what the next hours would hold for them all.. they sleep. I like to think I would done better, that I would watch and pray as Jesus commanded, but late at night in a peaceful garden if I was asked to be quiet and pray... sleep would be a very real possibility.
So while Jesus agonizes over what is about to happen, he prays “Father not my will but your will be done!”.. and at this moment as captured so powerfully in the movie the Passion of the Christ… Satan is Stomped! Prayers of Jesus are answered, the sleep of the disciples is now over, and now the final hours of Jesus life are set in motion.
Judas next arrives with temple guards to betray Jesus with a kiss, and these guards tumble backwards all over themselves like the keystone cops in a bumbling effort to arrest Jesus.
Since Peter had been sleeping when he should have been praying he runs to the rescue of Jesus with the spirit of a bull in a china shop cutting off the ear of a servant of the High Priest. In the midst of this chaos Jesus commands Peter to put down his sword, and he heals the severed ear for this servant.
Confused, and with his ego bruised, Peter and the other disciples run away. I am pretty sure I would have run too.
Of course I am a very sound sleeper, and so even worse I would have maybe slept through the whole arrest woke up around 8 a.m. the next morning all by myself wondering where everyone had gone.
note: Please understand I am not looking down at the disciples for falling asleep in the Garden when Jesus directed them to watch & pray. I am not criticizing Peter who in panic cut off the ear of high priest. And I am not making light of the disciples running away in fear when Jesus was arrested. Instead, I see myself just as sleepy, panicked, and running away afraid when I should have been watchful and praying. I too get my mind busy about me instead of Jesus. And I observe as a 'lifetime resident of Earth' I am not the only one, and so I pray to do better.
So with the lesson of the disciples who 'never saw it coming' I pray we all learn to follow Jesus words "Watch and Pray".
Holy Week Blessings
Jeff (often sleepy) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson