This is one of the most revealing scriptures there is when it comes to the humanistic character of man. Jesus and His disciples are about to make the journey to Gethsemane. However, prior to their journey Jesus tells them that they ALL would fall away from Him. Peter, who is the one that historically is transcribing this Gospel to Mark, tells Him "Even though they may fall away, yet I will not." It wasn't just Peter who was saying this, they were all saying it (v. 31). Each of them believed that they would die with Him, rather than deny Him.
How often have we spoken out of turn or made a vow to Christ that we subsequently cannot keep? Should we not prayerfully consider the things that we say and do for Him before we say or do them?
I am deeply troubled by my own inability to consider what Christ is saying to me through His Word before I go spouting off about this and that without considering what Christ would say or do.
When they get to Gethsemane Jesus takes His three closest disciples to come with Him to keep watch while He prays. Jesus is at a point when the realization of what He is about to do is present. He says that "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death." In His humanness,
He prays "that if it were possible, that this hour might pass Him by." In His divinity, He prays, "yet not what I will, but what you will." Moments later, He discovers that the three disciples had fallen asleep while keeping watch. Jesus tells them "that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He warns them that they should "keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation." This same scene is repeated for a second time. Prior to this, Jesus had told them that they would all fall away. Yet here, in the hour of greatest turmoil for our Savior, they could not stay awake to keep watch. How often have we said that we could not pray because we are too tired? How often have we not kept watch over our own faith because we are too busy, or caught up in some worldly endeavor, or too tired to keep watch? It's in those hours that we are in the most danger of falling away.
The words written by Keith Green in his song "Asleep in the Light" most accurately describe the character flaws spoken of in these verses. "Oh, bless me, Lord, bless me, Lord" You know, it's all I ever hear, No one aches, no one hurts No one even sheds one tear. But, He cries, He weeps, He bleeds And He cares for your needs. And you just lay back and keep soaking it in. Oh, can't you see it's such sin?"
These words speak to the very real truth we have as a reality within the western church. We are always seeking how much Jesus can do for us rather that what He can do in the lives of others. Because all of His disciples fell into this very trap, they fell away, just as Jesus described. They grew tired and became apathetic even at the hour of Jesus' greatest burden, which was to die for their sin and for mine.
Heavenly Father, may we never take for granted the work you did for us through Jesus Christ. May we never grow into a state of apathy when it comes to the blood shed for all mankind and for our salvation. May we never grow tired or apathetic to the ministries you call us to, including prayer, which is simply being available to communicate with You. You are worthy.