Rise, let us be going. Matthew 26:46
For this quarter we’ve looked at the last hours before the crucifixion of Christ using the book of John as our source. But John’s wasn’t the only gospel to record the event. Today we look at Matthew and find what may have been Jesus’ last statement before the soldiers came to the garden.
When the Passover supper was finished, those present retired to Gethsemane, a garden, where weary disciples stretched out and fell asleep while Jesus agonized in prayer. Twice He woke them and asked them to join Him in prayer. Three times He found them sleeping. The last time He approached slumbering men He woke them, but didn’t request prayer. Jesus no longer appears to be in agony but resolved as He nudges them awake with the words, “Rise, let us be going.”
Jesus didn’t wait for the soldiers to find Him. He didn’t hide in the shadows. Instead, He woke the sleeping men and stepped out to face the coming tragedy. As a young child He had told Mary and Joseph that He needed to be about the business of His heavenly Father.  As a man on a mission He told both friend and enemy that every day He was actively involved in following His Father’s direction.  And, on this last night as soon as it settled in His heart that God’s plan was leading through the cross not around it, He didn’t hesitate . The will of the Father was forward, so He walked out the meet the situation head on.
It can be a good pattern to follow. Years ago as a counselor on staff with a large church our pastor advised the leadership, “Go out and meet trouble. When you know it is coming, don’t wait. Proactively face what can’t be avoided.” Many times I’ve been grateful for the wise counsel. I’ve followed it personally in a dozen different situations, and often taught the principle to clients who came to my office.
If a financial crisis is coming, make calls and talk about budget changes before insolvency pushes things to a crisis. If your kid is drifting into dangerous relationships, bring up the subject sooner rather than later. If a situation at work looks suspicious, discuss it with proper authorities or begin documentation now. If family tensions are building but no one wants to expose the elephant in the living room, volunteer and speak up. While no advice can be universally applied, going out to meet trouble is a life management tool that seldom fails.
The Christian life is dependent. We wait on God; we draw our strength from Him. We are branches, nothing more. But the Christian life is NOT passive. There are enemies to be faced. Battles to be won. Years of a long obedience in a single direction to be faithfully executed. Spiritual sloth and sleeping are not on the agenda. Just as with the disciples that last fateful night, Jesus often stirs us from slumber calling, “Rise, let us be going.”