"Then Jesus brought them to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, "Sit here while I go on ahead to pray. He took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, and he began to be filled with anguish and deep distress. He told them, 'My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.' He went on a little further and fell down on the ground praying, 'My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet, I want your will not mine.' Then, he returned to the disciples and found them asleep" Matthew 26:36-40 (NIV).
A big part of our assignment as people of faith in sharing the Good News is to watch as well as pray. In Matt. 26:38, Jesus told the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Stay here and keep watch with me.” But, after rebuking them in verses 40-43, He prayed alone, and returned to them a third time and said, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed in the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer." My Bible tells me the garden was the place of Jesus' agonizing prayer, Judas' brutal betrayal, and Christ's wrongful arrest. These were the events that preceded His crucifixion on the Cross. However, when Jesus needed His disciples most, they didn't have His back. They were asleep on their J.O.B. Jesus needs His church to "have His back," be alert and on the job. Too many religions are "out-witnessing the witnesses!" And, as a result the church is in decline and losing ground.
What makes matters worse is this wasn't the only time Jesus told the disciples to be on guard. In Luke 12:1 (NIV) He said, "Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." In Mark 13:35, “…keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back….do not let him find you sleeping.” He told the brothers in Luke 21:36, "be always on watch, and pray...." Another translations says, "Keep on the alert at all times...." But like too many Christians today, the brothers were asleep on the job. Yes, their bodies where there with Jesus, but their minds where way on the other side of the town. They were absent-minded, missing in action, asleep on the job.
Scripture says to be faithful over a few things, and He will make you ruler over many. Are you watching as well as persistently praying for protection against the attacks of the enemy? Are you faithful in Sunday school, ministry, and church attendance? Are you in the Word of God, equipping yourself daily and watching for opportunities to "go ye therefore," and witness the Good News that Jesus saves? Or, are you, like the disciples were in the Garden of Gethsemane, asleep on the J.O.B.?