Thursday, July 12: Are you still sleeping and resting?
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 26:40-46
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"
The same three disciples Jesus chooses not only to walk farther with him this sorrowful night, but also to go up the mountain with him to witness his earlier transfiguration—Peter, John, and James—cannot stay awake. Three times Jesus implores them to pray while he goes away to do the same; three times he returns, finding them sleeping like babies. What can we learn from this account? That these disciples had sleep disorders? Very doubtful. That they didn't understand what was going on this night? As we've seen throughout this Gospel, most likely. That three "spiritual giants," who would go on to write eight books of the New Testament between them, could still sometimes be clueless, thoughtless, and lazy? Signs point to yes.
On the one hand, Jesus calls us to avoid sinning against God and our neighbors. On the other, he offers grace when we fall, a hand up, and an enthusiastic embrace. How are you at accepting that grace, from God and from others? And how are you at extending that same grace, to others and to yourself?