Luke 22.39-46 (Not to fall asleep?)

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him.

And when he came to the place he said to them, “Pray that you not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down, and prayed. “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me! Nevertheless: Not my will, but thine, be done.”

And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise, and pray that you not fall into temptation!”

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5 responses

  1. I think of this as a very concise guide to prayer. One can pray for just about anything, but it should always be followed by an acknowledgement that one doesn’t have the authority to make any decisions (and it’s good that one doesn’t).

    The only freedom that we as humans have is to willingly accept the will of God. And that’s only because God gave us that freedom. Like other things, it is a gift to be returned to God by accepting His will.

    1. Hmmm, yeah, one implication.

      Maybe to pray while simultaneously acknowledging that “It’s your call, Boss!” As Jesus does, here.

      I think I’ve got freedom to do anything I want, and even a few easy things I don’t want — and then, days or months or years down the road, to find that God has choreographed the whole thing to produce something I hadn’t expected.

      You don’t agree with Raymond Smullyan’s take on why God ‘gave’ people ‘free will’? (in his dialog ‘Is God a Taoist?’, which you can find in your copy of _The Mind’s Eye_, or online at an MIT site.)

      1. Indeed—I understand what you mean about the choreography.

        Well, I have two problems with Smullyan’s piece. The whole thing is a brilliant redefinition of the debate, but I think he leaves God’s “freedom” and God’s “utilitarianism” improperly addressed.

        First of all, God’s freedom: I am inclined to say that God is completely free, and that this statement should be used as a starting point for the definition of logic. To say that God is bound by logical impossibility, then—as Smullyan does—seems a bit off the mark. God is not bound by anything. It would be better, I think, to say that God is logic, and we don’t fully understand logic (God).

        Then there’s the second point: God as a utilitarian—which just seems inexplicable to me. To leave off by saying that God wants to minimize the pain of sentient beings makes no sense. This needs more explanation. If this is the best possible universe—which it must be if God is good and omnipotent—then we need an explanation for why sentient beings (which necessarily have freedom) were a good idea in the first place.

        So yeah, I’m hard-pressed to say that free will was a foregone conclusion, so to speak. And by extension, sentient beings. I am inclined to say that God had a choice in the matter.

        1. I’m inclined to say that the nature of God is ‘logical’ in some sense, that is, God prefers universes with basic coherence because, for one thing, nothing really ‘happens’ in a universe where it leaves no footprints(?) I mean, God would know it happened… but as far as anyone else was concerned, it would be a no-op. & I’m sure Smullyan, as a logician, would find God choosing to be illogical… really frustrating!

          ‘Mathematical logic’ is kind of a special case. I mean, it turns out equivalent to mathematics itself… but the ideas of ‘truth’ & ‘implication’ in it don’t really match what human beings mean by (for example): “If it’s raining, he’ll have his umbrella.” That is, this is mathematically ‘true’ if it isn’t raining — But then, if it isn’t raining, you could put anything whatsoever in that second part, and the new sentence would also be true, for example: “If it’s raining there will be a dragon with a runny nose on the fire escape.” Which isn’t at all like what human beings mean by that first sentence, but the difference is hard to define.

          If you say that “Logic is a property of the application of a language to a situation” — then contrary statements can come out both ‘true’ of a situation wherever that language is a poor fit…
          I like to think a better description would rule that out; but what if a situation is simply too complex, described only by something akin to a list of all the possible infinite decimals…

          If God is (among other things) the sentience of ‘sentient beings’, then some form of utilitarianism follows, from the “If it hurts, don’t do it” principle.

          I’m not sure why sentient beings were a good idea, but I like being one (as long as I’ve got faith enough to trust God to keep it so!)

          My best guess (so far) is that anything ‘truly alive’ is ’embodied God,’ so that sharing (locally) in God’s power was a consequence of that .
          (See http://www.quakerquaker.org/forum/topics/the-belief-factor )

  2. Another thing. In John we have Jesus telling Judas, before this point, to go out & do his job. It’s such a striking detail that I’d had the impression, until I just now checked it out, that all the gospels had it! No. Here, the only explanation is “the Devil made him do it.” But we aren’t told when/why Judas leaves, only that he’s left the group when he shows up with the posse. Same in Matthew & Mark, except that in Matthew Jesus confirms: “Yes, you’re the guy” (which could suggest, as does John’s version, that Jesus is setting himself up because ~It’s what needs to happen. [Does it? Why not? If so, Why?])

    Why is it so important not to ‘fall asleep’? In John, Judas has already left the group at the dining table. When does he leave, here? How about: When his companions fall asleep, Judas goes out and finds those hunting Jesus!

    Maybe, maybe not. In some unstated way, the disciples “falling asleep” seems to be how Jesus gets betrayed. Maybe just figuratively, as when Jesus says (in the previous passage) that one of them will betray him — and they all start maneuvering for position! Maybe, when he sees that two of them have already acquired swords; as if they were a rebel band and that this had been what Jesus had been hinting at all along.

    Have the churches “fallen asleep” from pretty early on?

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