What makes someone work urgently or fervently on a task? Almost always it is because the task has an immediate deadline. It has to be done now. The sooner the deadline is, the sooner it has to be completed. What if we don’t know when the deadline is? Well, we won’t know how urgent the task is then. That is the situation the disciples find themselves in Mark 14:32-39. Jesus is praying and awaiting His impending betrayal by Judas. He tells the disciples to watch and pray and walks about a stone’s throw away to kneel and pray. As He is fervently praying to God the Father about all that is to come that night and the following day His disciples are sleeping. On Jesus’ last night on earth before His crucifixion those closest to Him were sleeping. Jesus returns, finds them sleeping and says, “Are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
The disciples didn’t know what was about to happen. They weren’t concerned with praying that night. It was late, they were tired, and it was going to be a busy Passover weekend. Therefore they put little effort into their task to pray. Jesus again walks a short distance away to pray returning once more to them sleeping. The passage tells us that, “They did not know what to say to him.”
Believers have a task to do. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Since we don’t know when Christ is returning, a good portion of the church has become apathetic. They are sleeping just as the disciples did. Jesus’ last night on earth His disciples spent sleeping; and if the church doesn’t regain a since of urgency then a good portion of the church will spend the hours, days, weeks, months before His return sleeping. Can you image having Christ, your savior, say, “Could you not keep watch and pray for such a short amount of time?” Just as the disciples didn’t have a response neither would we. Just because something is not a sin doesn’t make it a wise use of time. Do you think the disciples felt justified in their actions when they were face to face with Jesus caught in the act of sleeping? Not even close! Therefore, although we don’t know our deadline we do know the task. Don’t get caught sleeping with no response to give.