Lenten Meditation: Watch With Me

You could not watch one hour with me--James Tissot

Matthew 26:40

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.

Every time I read of this scene in Gethsemane, I am convicted yet again of my own drowsing faith and how inadequate it is when the pressure is on.  “Gethsemane” means “oil press”  so it becomes an appropriate setting among the olive trees for the pressure to be turned up high, on the disciples, as well as Jesus.

The disciples are expected, indeed commanded, to keep watch by the Master, to be filled with prayer, to avoid the temptation thrown at them at every turn.  But they fail pressure testing and fall apart.  And so too, we are lulled by the complacency of our modern times, by an over-indulged satiety for material comforts that do not truly fill hunger or quench thirst,   by an expectation that being called a disciple of Jesus is enough.

It is not enough.

We sleep through His anguish.  We dream, oblivious, while He sweats blood.  We deny we know Him when the pressure is turned up,  yet incredibly He loves us anyway.

So, like the disciples who walked alongside Him, we must pray: to remain watchful, to be faithful under stress, to be forgiven for falling asleep when He needs us most.

Andrea Mantegna: Agony in the Garden, circa 1460

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