Jesus took the risk to invite James, John, and Peter into the garden to pray with him. He invited them to enter into his brokenness, his anguish, his pain, his confusion, his fear. The fact that they fell asleep takes nothing away from the invitation. Remember, it was night. The darkness which surrounded them reflected the night that was within them. But their drowsiness does not detract from their initial willingness to enter the garden with Jesus. They were tired. It was late. They fell asleep. Let us not be too hard on them. Who of us has not fallen asleep now and then when we have been invited to pray, to stay awake, to watch and wait? Our spirit is willing but our bodies are tired.
We remember that these same three were invited by Jesus to go to the mountain with him where they witnessed the transfiguration. Then it was easy to stay awake. Something exciting was happening right before their eyes. There was Jesus and Moses and Elijah all meeting together on the mountain. It was a glorious moment --one that these three wanted to savor and keep. Then they wanted time to stand still. They wanted to pitch some tents and camp out on the mountain of glory.