Mark 14.27-42 CEB: Jesus said to them, “You will all falter in your faithfulness to me. It is written, I will hit the shepherd, and the sheep will go off in all directions. But after I’m raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else stumbles, I won’t.”
But Jesus said to him, “I assure you that on this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
But Peter insisted, “If I must die alongside you, I won’t deny you.” And they all said the same thing.
Jesus and his disciples came to a place called Gethsemane. Jesus said to them, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John along with him. He began to feel despair and was anxious. He said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert.” Then he went a short distance farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if possible, he might be spared the time of suffering. He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible. Take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.”
He came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you stay alert for one hour? Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, he left them and prayed, repeating the same words. And, again, when he came back, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open, and they didn’t know how to respond to him. He came a third time and said to them, “Will you sleep and rest all night? That’s enough! The time has come for the Human One to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s go! Look, here comes my betrayer.”
This story has always given me a sense of sorrow. I think it’s because it reminds me so much of my walk with Jesus. I seem a lot like Peter at times. One moment I’m swearing my faithfulness but just a short time later, I’m just swearing. I can’t even follow through with the simplest task. That’s what I feel when I read this story about Peter. He’s so adamant that he will be there for Jesus. And yet, when Jesus is in deep prayer and in need of his support, he’s asleep.
I’ve been there. On both sides of this coin. I always seem to have good intentions but I seem to fail miserably. Some times, I get it right. But it seems more times than not, I fall short. I’m so thankful that God’s grace covers that. I’m so grateful that God knows my failings. But more than that, I’m glad God knows my heart. Like Peter (and the rest), my intention is to serve God, neighbor, and enemy to the very best of my ability. And, like Peter, when I’m confronted with my failings, I can sometimes react harshly.
What I see in this passage is the many opportunities for change - for doing the right thing the first time. Perhaps, if Peter (and the rest) had been in prayer with Jesus those three hours, they would have been more prepared for the coming events. Perhaps, but I don’t think so. Even if we bathe our selves in prayer, and prepare the best we can, sometimes, we are not ready for what the future holds. Sometimes, you can’t be ready. Sometimes, we have to pray like Jesus and say, ‘Not what I want but what you want, Loving God’.
Maybe that’s the key. We can prepare as best we can realizing that we will fall short but always, always know that what God wants should be our desire, no matter the cost.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC