Returning the third time, he said to them,
"Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough!
"Enough!" This single, solitary word from the Master must have cut to the hearts and souls of his three closest companions! Jesus and his disciples had finished celebrating the Passover Meal—the Last Supper, the final meal they would share together before Jesus' crucifixion, death, and burial. During the meal, Jesus gave his followers a new commandment, a mandate to love one another as he had loved them. This is where our term "Maundy Thursday" comes from. After supper, Jesus invited Peter, James, and John to share a sacred moment with him—to pray with him as he prayed in his hour of weakness—but they failed him. This time not even Peter, a man who always had something to say, had an answer for Jesus.
Of course, Jesus forgave their failure, for it is God's nature to forgive. But at that moment in time, the disciples had slept instead of staying alert and supporting Jesus in prayer. That unique opportunity to pray with Jesus in his darkest hour was forever lost. On that night, when Jesus' soul was in agony and distress, it was the angels who comforted him, not his three closest disciples. After Jesus' death and resurrection, these three men went on to become diligent in prayer—but the memory of that night when they failed their Lord would remain with them for the rest of their earthly lives. Rather than watching and waiting and praying with Jesus as he prepared for the Cross, the disciples, who hours earlier had pledged allegiance to their Master, gave into human fatigue and slept!
Like the disciples, you and I receive unique opportunities to pray with our Lord and Master—specific times when Jesus asks each of us to watch and wait and pray with him as he intercedes for a situation in the life of a friend, a family member, or a coworker. What a privilege and honor it is that Jesus asks us to join him in this high priestly work called prayer. Yet, like the disciples of old, if we are preoccupied with our own needs, or if we are fatigued from keeping long hours rather than preparing ourselves for the ministry of prayer, we will miss the blessing of praying with our Lord!
Yes, God is gracious. He always forgives our failings and shortcomings. He knows we are human; he knows we are all made from the dust of the earth. And not only does God forgive us, but in his compassion and love, our Father also provides us with opportunities to join him in his prayer-work. In his divine providence, our Master can even use our human failings to bring about good. However, that does not change the fact that it is critical that we respond in obedience to every prompting from God when he calls us to prayer. God does not need our obedience, for he has legions of angels prepared to do his bidding when we fail him. The loss is ours when we miss what God wants to do in our lives because we are not responsive to the still, small voice that calls us to watch and wait and pray.
Today is the day that Jesus is asking all of us to pray with him for just one hour. Our spirit may be willing, but our flesh is weak. Will we honor our Master's request or will we, like the disciples in the garden, hear the stinging word "Enough!" from Jesus? On this Maundy Thursday, the choice is ours to make!
We must move from asking God to take care of the things
that are breaking our hearts,
to praying about the things
that are breaking his heart.
Winning Words: the Word of God to encourage, strengthen,
comfort, assure, and give hope to the people of God.
An archive of past winning words is available on my website: www.mywinningwords.org