Barbara Higby

Oblivious Disciples

#2 Clueless Travelers

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.

Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet and celebrated the Passover, establishing it as the Lord’s Supper from that point forward. Jesus also spoke troubling words to them—words of death, desertion, and denial. Now He and the disciples traveled to a familiar garden and Jesus asked them to pray.

He didn’t ask them to pray for Him, but for themselves.

He said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed.

Each of the three times He rose from prayer, Jesus saw that they were not praying as He had asked, but sleeping. Luke tells us why:

He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.*

Jesus didn’t condemn them. He didn’t even scold them. He had warned them there was temptation ahead—to fight, run, hide, deny, despair—and they were not prepared. They were exhausted from sorrow and so they slept.

Fast forward less than two months and we find these sleepy, unprepared, undisciplined, fearful disciples changing the world. They became preachers, healers, miracle workers—wide awake, bold, and unafraid. Like last week’s donkey, they were the ones Jesus chose to use, just as He chooses us.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Cor. 1:27

Gethsemane references are from Luke 22.
Image from the Brooklyn Museum/

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