Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home. Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. (John 7:53-8:2)
Read: 1 Kings 17:8 – 20:22
Relate: On the Mount of Olives there was a garden. It is called Gethsemane. It is famous as the place where Jesus prayed while his disciples slept. Those poor disciples, they take a lot of heat for falling asleep that night. I’ve heard preacher after preacher build scathing sermons on their inability to stay awake at this crucial hour. I tend to think the same when I am reading through the gospels. How could they do this? How could they simply fall asleep when Jesus needed them the most?
What if it was habit? What if they did not realize that fateful evening was something so far beyond the norm? One might answer, “But Jesus was praying through the night. He was clearly in passionate emotional turmoil.” What if He was often, passionately, deeply staying up all night in prayer? I think this is the truth and I am sure I have a pretty good case.
Just think, when Judas was going to betray Him, the traitor knew just where to go. As John writes: “Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples.” How often is often? Well, Jesus ministry lasted three to five years. For arguments sake lets go with the traditional 3 1/2 years. That means there were more than 21 Jewish festivals where He was in Jerusalem and it is more than probable that He spent a night in prayer at least once each time He came.
Beyond that, we know that Jesus often spent nights in prayer in other places as well. (See Luke 6:12, Matthew 14:23) Sometimes He sent them all away. Other times He took some of them with Him. I would venture to say the disciples were used to getting their sleep while Jesus prayed through the night. We know for a fact that Jesus prayed through the night at least 5 times during His ministry while the evidence would point to this happening more like at least ten times a year. Jesus was an intercessor.
React: Am I? Jesus’ praying through the night was a regular habit that the disciples were used to. It happened frequently enough that they didn’t really take notice that last and final time He did it. As a Christian I am supposed to be a follower of Christ. But when was the last time I have followed Him up that mountain? Honestly, I don’t think I have spent an entire night in prayer once in this past decade. The word “Christian” means Christ like. Do I deserve that title if I am not doing what He did? Do any of us?
God, help me to learn to wait on You. I say I love You, help me to prove it in how I spend my time. Help me to have the discipline and the passion to get with You and stay with You for as long as it takes. Don’t let me be content with just a few minutes a day. Help me to pray through. I want to spend time with You. Help me to climb that mountain and then to stay.