And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things [are] possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly [is] ready, but the flesh [is] weak. And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take [your] rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.(Mark 14:32-42)
What a wonderfully patient Lord who kindly pointed out the continuing failure of His closest followers who chose to sleep instead of joining Christ in watchful prayer. Please notice He “caught them red handed” three times as they had fallen asleep during His times of prayer. They deserved His chastening and anger to be placed upon them, yet from a heart of love, He chose to correct them by kindly speaking words of truth to them. From our human standpoint, this may seem like an extreme act of love on His behalf, however from a spiritual standpoint, He has shown to us a much greater patience than this…
His loving patience shown towards us as sinners (those who rebelled against His Word, scoffed and mocked His claims, and rejected His message of love and grace) intervening in our lives, breaking our sin hardened hearts and bringing us to Himself clearly stands out from all His other displays of longsuffering.
Paul, who described himself as “the chief of sinners” understood the great love that Christ had shown to him when He intervened in his life and showed him such great patience and mercy. In doing so, Christ was setting a perfect “pattern” of loving patience for all of us to follow in His steps.
This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17)
Our Lesson To Be Learned:
If we love our Lord as we should, and we recognize His great patience shown to us, we will find ourselves, motivated by appreciation, following His example and living holy lives separated for His use.
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;(2 Peter 3:14-15)
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