Mark 14:32-34

It sounds so simple: Sit here…remain here, and keep awake (vv. 32-33). It’s the kind of instruction you’d expect a mother to give to young children while she takes care of an urgent task. “Just sit here and stay awake.” This isn’t, as they say, rocket science. 

But are any of Jesus’ instructions really that complicated? Even when he told a rich man to sell all he had and give it to the poor, the instructions did not require Phi Beta Kappa intelligence for comprehension. Jesus could, and sometimes did, teach by using rhetorical questions and difficult-to-decipher parables, but when he gives instructions, he is never confusing. He is as straightforward as “sit here and stay awake.” 

In my experience, my problem is seldom a lack of understanding of Jesus’ way. His way is usually sufficiently clear for me to know which direction to head. I just don’t want to go there. 

But in this moment Peter, James, and John aren’t being asked to go anywhere, or do anything other than keep awake. How sad, then, to see them disregard so simple an instruction. 

If we can’t get even the simplest of orders right, how can we hope to fare better on the greater matters? Or, are there truly any greater matters? What if it all comes down to learning how to pay attention to even the small stuff, like sit here…and keep awake?


When you consider all that Jesus commands in the Gospels, are there some commandments that you would rate as more important than others? Which ones need more of your practice or attention? 


God, especially in those times when what you say seems confusing to me or less urgent, teach me the importance of learning to respond with yes. Amen.

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