Matthew 26:45 – Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.“ NIV
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane praying, and He has asked Peter, James, and John to watch and pray with Him. They fell asleep during the first round of prayer, and He woke them up hoping that they would join Him in prayer. When He came back a second time and found them sleeping, He didn’t even bother to try and wake them. Jesus now comes back for a third time, wakes them and asks, “Are you still sleeping and resting?” Then He adds, “Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
When He asked this question, His death was imminent. Judas was arriving with the Temple guards that were going to arrest Jesus. Today, He may ask that same question to His followers because His return is imminent, and many are doing little to gather in the harvest before He returns. We talk about reaching out. It is in our congregational purpose statements, but how much prayer and effort actually goes into sharing the love of Jesus with people who have not yet decided to follow Him?
It is often easier to just wait and see what will happen rather than follow God’s initiative and get involved in other people’s lives because lives are messy, and it will take time and effort to share Jesus’ love with someone. I am grateful for people in the Body of Christ who have the gift of evangelism. I was just recently in a situation where I needed to “do the work of an evangelist” in a person’s life; but I delayed in acting for a variety of reasons. However, I was so grateful that an 88 year old follower of Jesus with the gift of evangelism was not.
I believe that God usually has back-up plans to accomplish His purposes; but what if He didn’t have to use those plans? What if I am that back up plan? What could the Body of Christ accomplish for the Kingdom if we didn’t do so much resting and sleeping? I am reminded of Paul’s words to the believers at Ephesus:
This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:14-16 – NIV)