“Why are you sleeping?” Jesus said to his disciples when he was on the mount preparing for the upcoming trial of his life. I wonder, how often does Jesus say this to me? When we are not paying attention to what is going on around us, are we not sleeping on the job?
I remember a time when I was just a teenager working for the city and was actually just promoted to a supervisor type position where I was in charge of two other guys on the crew. They were brothers and one was older than me while the other was younger. We got along well and I was more experienced than them in the work, so they respected me as the one in charge. One day when we arrived on the job site, the brothers were pretty tired from a late night of partying and probably had a bit of a hangover. So they asked me if we could take a quick nap before we got started working? I was reluctant but being so young, I was more concerned about what they thought of me rather than the possible consequences, so I gave into the peer pressure.
Well of all days that my boss would decide to come to the job site and check up on us, he decided to do it this day. I get a call on the radio asking where we are at. We were in the work van asleep at the time. We jumped up fast and started unloading tools to look busy and there he came around the corner. Fortunately we weren’t asleep for very long so I thought I had dodged a bullet there. When I get back to the headquarters at the end of the day, I get called into my boss’s office. He starts by asking me “how was your nap this morning?” Turns out he had seen us sleeping in the van before he called me on the radio.
It was a clear reminder to me of the apostles when Jesus asked them “why are you sleeping?” They were given clear instructions from Jesus to “watch and pray” Jesus was in deep anguish over his upcoming betrayal and sacrifice. He needed his apostles’ encouragement and support more than ever and yet they were asleep. The Israelites were told by the prophet Isaiah “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem, they will never be silent; day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest…” Isaiah 62:6 We are still given this proclamation today as we are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “Pray without ceasing.”
You are a watchman for God’s kingdom today and you have been posted on the walls to make way for the Lord and His people. By staying alert and in constant communication with the Lord about what you see happening in the world today. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if you were caught sleeping when you had a job to do like I was… Imagine if the enemy were approaching and as the watchmen of the city you were asleep… We don’t have to imagine what would happen to Jesus, because his apostles did fall asleep when they should have been alert and watching. But we can imagine how different things may have been if Judas was watching and praying rather than being spiritually asleep.
If we look at the entirety of what Jesus told the apostles he said “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 Judas clearly had not been doing this as he fell into temptation. There is temptation all around us every day and since we are living in the flesh it can be easy to want to give into the flesh. But we have the spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24 And that spirit that is inside you, longs for the Lord day and night. He intercedes for you even when you aren’t aware of what you need to say. Romans 8:26-27
My question to you then is this… are you asleep? Or are you alert and watching? Are you in constant communication with the Lord on what is going on today? The Lord is calling you to be watchful and ready. He needs you to be on guard.
We have all been given a job to do…”watch and pray” Don’t be caught sleeping on the job.