Jesus wasn’t the first one to cross the Brook Kidron and climb up the Mount of Olives.
As the disciples followed Him there to the Garden of Gethsemane, I’m sure their minds were full of the story of King David, ascending the Mount of Olives to escape Jerusalem when his son, Absalom, tried to wrestle the kingdom from him.
The historian writes those tragic words: “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.”
David told his followers, “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom…”
When Jesus made His own ascent up the Mount of Olives, the hearts of the men of Israel had gone after someone else- namely, Satan. Jesus had, like David, been betrayed by someone close to Him. Jesus’s disciples, like David’s faithful followers, vowed that they would do whatever He asked and go with Him, even to death.
As David ascended, he wept aloud, going with his head uncovered and his feet bare, signs of mourning. Jesus wept in the garden and prayed so fervently that He sweat drops of blood.
David had his three commanders to lead his army against Absalom- the brothers, Joab and Abishai, and the Gittite, Ittai. Jesus had the brothers James and John, and the fisherman, Peter.
David cared deeply for the welfare of his betrayer and cautioned his commanders not to harm him. Jesus cared deeply for sinners, and pleaded with the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
As the disciples’ minds lingered over these historical details, Jesus asked them to do two things: 1. Remain and 2. Watch.
This seems like an easy request, especially when you consider that the disciples had vowed to even die with Jesus.
When He asked them to remain, it was an invitation to abide with Him, to stay close and endure with Him. When He asked them to watch, He was asking them to keep vigilantly awake.
I don’t mean to spoil it for you, but even these three super-apostles fail. They fall asleep.
Why couldn’t they just do these simple things that Jesus had asked of them? Well, it was the middle of the night. Their stomachs and brains were full after the Last Supper, and perhaps they were emotionally drained from not understanding most of what Jesus said. Luke tells us they slept as a result of sorrow. Perhaps they also were tired from ministry demands.
Physical, emotional, spiritual, and compassion fatigue hit them hard and kept them from abiding and keeping watch with Jesus. He gives them a second chance when He comes and wakes them, but they fail again.
When He comes to them the third time, He tells them, “Arise!” He doesn’t just tell them to wake up from their fatigue, He invites them to enter into His resurrection power. They don’t understand it yet, but Jesus includes them in the Good News that is to come.
I am sure they later wished they had traded their fatigue for His resurrection. If only they had remembered that at the sacrifice of his son, David returned as a victorious king to reign over Jerusalem, perhaps they would have seen the Easter sun rising even as early as that dark good Friday.
If we trade our fatigue for resurrection, we will be able to faithfully abide and keep watch with our King.
This article is from a series of messages entitled, “For Such a Time As This” that I recently gave at a women’s conference. To view them, click on the video below or visit my webpage www.SarahDixonYoung.com/speaking