Matthew 26:45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Are you still sleeping?
This is the first problem, and some think it is the most difficult. Why, because everyone knows we shouldnít be sleeping. We cannot use the excuse of being tired, there is something that needs to be done, and we all know that when there is something which needs to be done, you rest afterwards. Sure, there are some things which can wait till tomorrow, but when there is something which canít wait, something that has to be done now, we all know, you do it now.
Still some say, its not so bad, whatís wrong with sleep? Whom does it hurt? And thatís where the text really hits us, for if a friend calls for help, and sleep was more important, what kind of a friend are we? Is this a real problem for us?
It may well be that we cannot ever recall letting a friend down in this way, if someone calls, we drop everything, and come to their aid. But it may be that there are certain things that we are more willing to do that others. For we feel good, when we called upon to do something we can do. If something is broken, and we can fix it, gives us a good feeling. But suppose someone calls us, and all they need is our company, they need someone to wait with them, or someone to listen to them. They need someone just to be there, and the problem is that we canít tell if weíre doing any good, and we know we canít put it right, that can be frustrating. Whatís worse, sometimes we donít know the right thing to say, or even if we should be saying something. And that kind of frustration can wear a person out, and whatís worse, there is nothing to show for it, or so it may appear.
Perhaps such things were going on in the minds of the disciples, we donít know. But it does raise a question, if we can do all these things for a friend, can we do the same when it comes to God? Would we drop everything, to go and be with God? Sure God doesnít need anything, and of course God has already given us everything, even salvation. The question is how do we love God? Do we love him only when he gives us what we want, or is there a deeper kind of love, that wants to do something for God, and is only waiting for God to show us what we might do, to show our gratitude? The good news is that if you are wondering what to do, all you have to do is ask, God has plenty of things that need doing, and surely has something that will match your talents and abilities. The bad news is that it might not be glamorous, it might be something as simple as waiting with someone, or perhaps as easy as prayer. Not that prayer is always easy, but as God gives us the faith, and tells us that we can call upon him at any time and at all times,Ö. At any rate, at least by now, no one is still sleeping. So lead on.
The hour is at hand, so now what?
Its one thing to know that now is the time for action, and another thing to know what it is that needs to be done. How do you know what needs to be done?
We are taught what a fire alarm sounds like, and what we should do. We have fire drills to practice what we have learned, so that when the time comes, everyone knows what to do.
In our text, the hour is at hand, Jesus is betrayed and captured, and the disciples run away. This is not the example we are supposed to follow, when the time comes there is something important that we have been called to do, there will be plenty of people running away, We however have a purpose, for God has made us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. When the time comes, it is necessary that we continue to be salt and light. We have been given the law to show people their sins, and the gospel so that we might show penitent sinners their savior. If we run away, who will call people to repent? If people do not repent, how can they long for a savior. And if they do not hear of the savior how will they come to faith. We know that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, and blessed are the feet that bring glad tidings go peace Ė we are those feet, and hands and mouths, eyes and ears, for together we are the body of Christ, called by God to prepare the world for his coming, for he is coming, and the hour is at hand.