We were in the Garden of Gethsemane in Israel. It’s at the bottom of the Mt. of Olives where Jesus went to pray with three of His disciples, and in a way, where His death really began. The stress was so overwhelming that Jesus experienced Hematidrosis, a medical condition where tremendous stress bursts tiny capillaries in the face and mixes with sweat, and thus, He sweat as it were great drops of blood.
Jesus already knew what was about to happen. After all, He was God, yet a man in flesh. He knew what He was about to do….and how it would feel. He knew the physical, emotional and spiritual battles He was about to face. Most of us can’t even look at our arm when we get a shot, but Jesus knew exactly how intense His pain would be down to the last beat of his heart.
When Jesus went to pray in the Garden, He took Peter, James and John with Him. They fell asleep. Jesus went back and woke them up. They fell asleep, again. A third time He woke them up. A third time they fell asleep.
It would be so easy to dog them for that! I mean, come on! The world is about to change forever and you can’t stay awake for just a little while!? But the fact is, we do the same.
In Israel, our group had the privilege to sit for a short Sunday morning service in the Garden of Gethsemane. We also had a chance to spread out alone in the Garden and pray where Jesus prayed, sit where the disciples were. Each prayed, contemplated, thought, remembered, wondered. It was a significant privilege, and honestly, I’m still processing it. My little watch size battery mind just can’t process the lightning strikes of the power that happened there two thousand years ago.
From a small bench where I sat alone in the Garden, I could see the Eastern gate in the wall around Jerusalem. Jesus went in and out of that gate many times as He went to and from the Temple. Now, the Muslims have the dome of the rock where the Temple sat. In fact, Muslims were afraid because Jesus said He would return again from the east, so they bricked the Eastern gate shut to keep Him out. As we say in Texas, that ain’t gonna work, boys.
Some of the trees in the Garden are over two thousand years old! They were there when Jesus was there. I looked at my feet. Jesus may have walked there. I looked up at the sky above the olive trees and the moon was lit in the blue sky. The moon has circled the earth since the beginning of creation and every seeing person who has ever lived has seen it! It’s amazing!
Maybe this sounds weird, maybe shallow, but a simple thought kept returning. Don’t. Fall. Asleep!
The three disciples with Jesus in the Garden fell asleep three times. Peter would soon deny Jesus three times. Jesus’ body would soon be dead for three days. And it all started when they missed the beginning of the most important event of history, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Jesus took them to pray, but they couldn’t stay awake.
Wake up. Wake up! Wake up!!
I realize I am asleep at the wheel too! There’s no difference! Actually, I’m grievously worse! I make Peter, James and John look like they had insomnia. I sleep and slumber through the most important times, not even realizing I missed the mark by drowsing in the dark. I miss divine whispers even though my eyes are awake in the day, because my spirit is asleep in the Light.
Oh to fully see what is, what was, and what will be! Oh to neither sleep nor slumber through the miraculous experiences of today. Oh to stay awake to the limitless possibilities, the never-ending opportunities in my own garden!
Life is short: it’s here today, gone tomorrow. Time is precious, but it is never as treasured as much as it is by a dying man. Truth be told, there’s no need to wait till the last breaths of life to truly breathe the Breath of Life.
Short term snoozes aren’t worth long-term losses. Stay awake, Peter. Keep your eyes open, James. Stay alert, John. Don’t go to sleep, Jeff! DON’T GO TO SLEEP!!
Go to the garden. Let the pain, the problems, your personal Hematidrosis go! Stay awake with spiritual coffee made from Living Water. Eat breakfast rolls from the Bread of Life. See the world with your eyes through God’s glasses. Have ears to hear through Holy Spirit hearing aids.
It’s there! It’s all there! It always has been, always will! Just don’t fall asleep and miss it…
Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46