Questions Jesus Asked: Week #4

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June 06, 2020 • Beth Guckenberger

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In the Gospels, Jesus asks many more questions than he answers. To be precise, Jesus asked 307 questions. Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings — that’s how we discover for ourselves that He is the way, the Truth and the Life.

This weekend, Beth Guckenberger continues our series, “Questions Jesus Asked...And Is Still Asking.” This series will address moments captured in the Gospels, when Jesus asked a question, revealing a Biblical truth.

In Week #4, we explore the question that Jesus asked in Mark 14, "Are you asleep?"

Message Transcript

Hey, JR Cifani here, Stewardship Director for the Vineyard. Thanks for joining us today. Well, my guess is that every single one of us has been challenged to evaluate some key area of our lives recently. And I'll confess that I've had some of my own what if questions about personal finances. And I wish I could say that there's been zero anxiety, but the truth is I have struggled at times with the, what ifs and uncertainties of where things are going. And maybe you have to like, what if the economy goes South for an extended period of time? What if the season changes my income dramatically? What if investments don't come back? And what if I can't pay my bills? And while I can't seem to completely turn off those what ifs all the time, a foundation of trust in the Lord always seems to win out Proverbs three, five serves as a helpful reminder: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

And then I'm back to peace again, remembering whose money it is, and being grateful for what God does with the contributions through this church. So thank you for staying connected and helping fuel this mission. To give online, go to or text the amount to the number on your screen. And I'm going to pray over our offering. So Father, we're just grateful, knowing that you are the provider of everything. Father help us get past the what ifs and the uncertainties that we create in our own minds, and just trust You. We thank You for it all. It's in Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Hello, I'm Megan Pielage, Associate Director of Life Reset here at Vineyard Cincinnati. I'm so glad you have chosen to worship with us today and hope you've been encouraged. We hope that many of you watching today took part in our very first virtual Hunger Walk on Memorial Day. Social media was filled with great photos of individuals and families, and even pets who did their own version of the annual 5k walk in order to help the Healing Center raise funds to help provide food for those in need. We especially love the photos of those of you who took the initiative to heart and chose to "walk" from your couch and from your patio chair. Needless to say, Memorial Day was a beautiful day to get out. And we're so thankful that so many of us took part in such a meaningful and life giving event. Even though we couldn't gather together, Vineyard family, you gave together in a huge way and gave just shy of $60,000 in donations from 698 donors!

That is incredible news. Thank you, Vineyard. It's awesome that we get to be the church together, a generous church, serving the great people of Cincinnati. I'm so excited about this next announcement. I can't even stand it. It's amazing to realize that we have not been able to meet in person as a church body since the end of March, but it has been incredible seeing how flexible and understanding people have been with the changes we have had to adapt to. Getting back together as a church is going to be a slow and steady process, guided by wisdom and safety. Even though we're not set on the exact date that we'll be returning to church, you're invited to the Vineyard Cincinnati campus for an outdoor event we are calling "Songs and Stories". On Saturday, June 27th, let's gather in the parking lot to worship, pray and hear from God's word. Health and safety precautions will be paramount. You can be sure that a great deal of prep and planning will go into this event for the sake of your wellbeing and peace of mind. Feel free to bring a lawn chair or just come as you are. More details will be coming soon. See our website for complete details. If you would like to know more about the heart of Vineyard Cincinnati Church, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Welcome to this weekend, Vineyard family. I am so excited that we are continuing in the Questions Jesus Asked series. We're going to be diving into a question today that Jesus asked Simon Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Simon, Peter, are you asleep?" And as we record this message, on this day, there's still rioting going on in cities all across this country as a result of the loss of life for George Floyd and all that that represents. And I don't want you to think that just because we addressed it last week, we've checked some kind of box and we are moving on. That's not, that's not how it's happening. We're going to continue to ask the Lord how he might use us individually, how he might use us as a church to advance this kingdom, and all the places that that might take us. And so, as we think about this question, "Simon Peter, are you asleep?",

I've been thinking and asking myself as I've been studying it, is there some area,, Lord that we need to wake up in something that we're letting pass us by, that you want to engage us in? When I was thinking about this question, I was remembering, this might not make sense to any of you, but when I was growing up, I grew up in this family that was full of pastors and missionaries. And when we would go to family reunions, the question people would ask each other after having not seen each other for a few months or even a year, wasn't like, "Hey, how's it going?" They literally would ask each other, "How's going with your soul?". Like I grew up hearing that from my extended family all the time. How's it going with your soul? And as you know, an 8 and a 10 and a 12 and a 14 year old, it kind of puts you on the spot to get real vulnerable, real fast.

But when I heard this question, I was thinking, Oh my gosh, that's like something my uncle would have asked me, are you asleep? How's it going with your soul? And I'm thinking this weekend in light of COVID-19, in light of the tension that's going on in our country, and in light of whatever it is that's going on in your life, I want to ask you, how's it going with your soul? Are you asleep? Let's first take a look at who he asked this question to. He took Peter and James and John to the garden, but he ended up asking this question to Peter specifically. And Peter has a couple different stages in his story. He has the before he was called as a disciple stage of his story; he has the miracle walking on water. He has an active disciple with Jesus stage in his story.

He has this moment when he falls asleep at a really important moment. Then he has the out of control Peter. We're going to, we're going to hear about it in a minute. And then when he cuts off someone's ear and he denies Christ three times, and then he has the redeemed Peter that we'll find in Acts Chapter 2. And I don't know which season you might identify with, which stage of Peter's life you're going to identify with today, as we talk about him and his story. But wherever it is, God wants you to know, like I have big plans for you. Do you know it? Are you asleep? Wake up for it. It doesn't matter where you've been, it doesn't matter what stage you find yourself in, wake up. There's still more for us to do together. Peter has been through it with Jesus.

I mean, he's been taught and challenged and edified by Christ. He has seen, and he performed miracles alongside of him. I mean, he walked on water! Like, are you that, are you finding yourself in that place this morning, this evening, this afternoon, whenever it is, you're watching this. You still can't believe all the things that God can do. You're amazed by the power that comes through Christ in your life. What, would cause someone who wants, had experienced Christ in that way to fall asleep at a really critical moment? When, when your foot falls asleep, like what does it feel like? It ends up feeling like it's numb, right? I think that's, what's falling asleep spiritually ends up feeling like it feels like numbness. Like what you once cared about, you don't care about so much anymore. You get tired of waiting. You get tired of wanting. You get tired of working.

You want something to be a certain way. And it's not that way. It just all becomes too much. It's exhausting. And it's easier to just fall asleep. Last year, I was doing a ton of travel. I was traveling internationally with back-to-back. I was traveling to other cities and speaking in churches, it was just, I was, I was moving too fast. And I remember I was in the Minneapolis airport and my flight was delayed and I was exhausted. And all I wanted to do was get on that plane and fall asleep. And when I found out I was going to be in another couple of hours, I found a family restroom. You know, those restrooms that like for like you and a companion. And I went into it and I locked the door and I laid down on that bathroom floor and I took a nap.

And let me tell you, you gotta be pretty tired to sleep on the floor of an airport bathroom! But I know that some of us are so tired. We find ourselves in places and positions laying down and things we had no business laying down and not even realizing what we are. We can get numb and stories like that. I was talking on the phone to one of our Back2Back staff members who was working here in Cincinnati with a young man. He was teaching this young man how to drive. He didn't have anyone in his life to teach him how to drive. They were side by side, shoulder to shoulder, in a parking lot, learning all the mechanics of a car. And the staff member asked the young man about did he, has he completed high school? And he said, yeah, I finished high school, but I don't have a diploma.

And he's like, why not? And he's like, well, I have some unpaid school fees. And he's like, what are you talking about? You, you don't have a diploma because you have unpaid school fees? And that young man went on to talk about it was just too much. He was just overwhelmed. He had actually kind of fallen asleep. He had gotten numb and it took someone saying, "Now, wait a second, you have a whole life ahead of you. That's a part of the story that God's going to write for your next step in life." Like sometimes we need people to look at us and say, why are you settling? Why, why are you closing your eyes? Why are you sleeping on the floor of the bathroom? Wake up. There's something more for us. When Jesus asks this question to Peter, he was in a garden.

It says in Mark Chapter 14, they came to a place called Gethsemane and Gethsemane literally means, in Hebrew, "an olive press". Jesus was also pressed. It just like those olives were pressed in order to create olive oil, Jesus would become pressed. And it says in the Bible, he literally, he sweats droplets of blood. He would have the great weight of, of the sin of the world, on him, pressed in that way. And what comes, what do we use olive oil for? We use it to anoint Kings. He was going to be the anointed King. We also use it to light lamps. There's these little, first century, early think of early times oil lanterns. And they have these little wicks in them and they hold inside of them a little bit of olive oil. And that's what they would. They would pour the olive oil in there to light the wick.

And those wicks would not give us the giant beams that our nice flashlights give us today. In fact, the light that would come from that wick would only probably light sufficiently the next step you have in front of us. And it reminds me of Psalm 119:105. It says "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." God says, I'm going to give you a light. You're going to find it in my word. You're going to find it in Me. And when you find that light in Me, I'm going to light your path. But guess how much I'm going to light it? Very possibly only enough for you to see the very next step. And I don't know if that's how, that's, how I feel about COVID-19; like, we don't actually really know what's going to happen all the way down the path. We don't, we don't know what's going to happen later this summer. We don't know what's gonna happen next fall. We read it. We don't know what's going to happen a year from now, but you know what? We don't have to because we can listen, follow, obey, trust, surrender to the One who gives us his word and lights the path up for us. Some sometimes in life we have circumstances pressing against us that are really big. And we feel that squeeze on us.

And we don't know what's going to happen down the road. I can remember 20 years ago, Todd and I decided to adopt a set of 14 year old girls. Do you know what I knew about adoption and teenage girls 20 years ago? Not very much. And there was tons of challenge in that storyline today. They're two of the best, biggest blessings in my life. I'm sure at some point, I'll tell you more of their story. But if somebody had whispered to me, then when we brought them home, that I was going to get a bunch of cute granddaughters out of them, I would have run into that storyline, but I didn't know that then. We don't always get to know what's coming down the road. We just have to hear the Lord prompt us into action. We have to hear the Lord prompt us to speak up or speak out or confess in or whatever it is He's prompting us to do and respond to it.

Knowing He sees all the way down the road, He knows what kind of blessing comes, that follows obedience. This last fall I was asked, because of the work I do with orphan care, to do a presentation at the United nations. And I can remember standing in the middle of New York City in front of the UN building. And there's all these flags outside from all these different countries. And let me tell you, the UN is a long way from Maineville. That's where I live out there in Maineville. I was thinking to myself, I am nowhere near Maineville. When I was in the middle of that, I had, I was walking into that building and I was saying to myself, I have no idea what's about to happen. I don't know what God's going to do with it, but I don't have to know. What I have to know is that I listened to the Lord and I take the next step.

I obey. And I trust that He's lighting the path in front of me and whatever pressure I might feel I can trust Him for what's yet to come. Some of the circumstances that press against us are big. Sometimes they're small. Sometimes their questions like will I pass the test? Will He call me back? Will my body heal? But we stay awake and alert and not numb, in the gardens of pressure in our life through surrender and trust, but letting go of control. Cause holding on it's actually exhausting to try to hold control of your life - it's exhausting. By confessing our sin because holding onto sin, it's exhausting. By being present because worrying about tomorrow, it's exhausting. We've got to stay in our day. And in this garden feeling pressed, knowing was going to happen. Jesus told them to sit here while I pray. And it goes on in Mark chapter 14 to say he fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible, the hour would pass from him.

"Abba, Father," He said, "all things are possible for You. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will." "Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will". When we say things like that, when we pray like that, sharing how we actually feel in real time, take this cup from me. He didn't want to do that any more than we want to do hard things. He was being honest about how he felt, "take this cup from me" , but then he immediately aligned Himself with his Father and His will. And he said "Yet not what I will, but what You will." Then we look like Jesus, that's actually how I pray for people. When I pray for their healing, I say, Lord, take this from them. I don't want them to hurt. I don't want them to be sick.

And the way that they are yet, not my will, but your will be done. I trust you in what you're doing. When I want the Lord to, you know, sell the house or, or whatever it is I'm asking from him. Like, we can tell him what we want. That's what prayer sounds like. But then we've got to make sure we are aligning ourselves with him, but whatever it is that you will, then I will too. Have you ever sat with someone who's going through something unbearable, like, like a breakup or a funeral or like a medical procedure? I recently sat with a friend who was in divorce court and it was really painful. There was actually nothing good about it. It felt like pressure against her. I got like, you just don't want to be in a situation like that. And I was, I was sitting there saying, Oh Lord, take this cup from her, but not our will,

Your will. What you want, we want. We trust you in all ways. Jesus returned, after having that very heartfelt, vulnerable face to face encounter with his Father, he comes back. He returns and He finds them sleeping. In verse 37 He says, "Simon, are you asleep?" He asked, "Were you not able to keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation, for the spirit is willing, but the body is weak." This is the time when Peter was sleeping. This is the stage in his life when he was numb; it became too much for him. And he just fell asleep. He wants them not to be asleep; actually for Peter's? Sake (I love when he says that) "So watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." What is it that Jesus knows that Peter doesn't go with me to that, to the Moses and Pharaoh story, right?

But all the way back in the book of Exodus, the let my people go. Moses is leading God's people out of the slavery that Pharaoh has. There's 10 plagues in that storyline, nine of those plagues, God's people can just sit on the Bleacher and watch God does all the heavy lifting, right? He did that. He does the locusts. He does the darkness. He does the blood. He does, he does all the work, but the 10th plague, He invites them into the story. He tells them to take blood from a lamb and put it on the doorframe of their house. That's something we call today Passover. And the lamb was the chief pagan god of the Egyptians. And they didn't like that. The Jewish people were cutting off their wool. They didn't like that they were drinking their milk. They didn't like they didn't like that

they were eating their meat, but they could do all that kind of behind the scenes. But this was going to be very overt in front of the Egyptians who take the blood of their chief pagan god, and you put it on the doorframe and then the angel death will pass over that door. Trust me in this and then stay awake all night and watch as I do it. And from here on out, I want you to stay awake on Passover. And remember what I did this night, when I spared your firstborn son and I had the great Exodus, I took you out of slavery and into freedom. Jesus died the week of Passover. When those guys fell asleep, that night, they actually broke the Torah. They broke that law, that ancient law of staying up on that night. And remember God was saying to them, Hey, there's a great Exodus coming.

I'm going to take you out of slavery through this coming cross and into freedom. It was, but it was just too much. And I think I was thinking to myself, I'm just going to be honest with you. Like, like when we fall asleep, when we get numb, we let things slide. We don't, we stop paying attention to the things that we need to in our life. We stop paying attention to our children. We stop parenting them and we just ended up managing them. We stopped paying attention to our marriage and we begin to co-exist or, or even worse, we stop paying attention to our calling and we start building our own kingdoms. When we fall asleep and we get numb, we stop paying attention to how we steward our dollars. And we find that we actually never seem to have enough when we don't pay attention.

We fall asleep to our tongue - we start to say things that we shouldn't. When we fall asleep and stop paying attention to our thought life, we fantasize about things that aren't ours. The result of all of this slumber is temptation. That's why Jesus said to Peter, "stay awake". I don't want you to fall into temptation. James tells us temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death. And have you ever asked yourself, how did I get here? How did it get this bad? Whatever it is in your life. Like, how did this even start? The answer is something probably became too much and we didn't surrender. And eventually exhausted, we just get numb and we fall asleep. And this is when you know, deep down Jesus is asking you, "How's it going with your soul? Are you asleep? I don't want you to face the consequences of that kind of sin life.

I want you to wake up for your sake. Pay attention. There's a great Exodus coming." Jesus knew that Peter would deny him shortly. He sees our whole life at one time; He doesn't live each day kind of in real time, the way we do, He looks at our whole life at one time. Have you ever seen like a movie and you know, more than like the protagonist does, and you know that they're about to walk into something that's like dangerous for them. And you're like yelling at the TV screen or the movie screen. Like, don't go in there. That's not going to be good for you. That's like Jesus, all the time. He knows everything that's always going to happen to us. And He's warning us. He's saying, "I know what the next three days are going to be like, and they're going to be really big. I want you to stay awake. I want you to pay attention to them." He knew actually not just about the next three days. He knew 50 days from then we would celebrate what we celebrated last weekend, Pentecost. And He knew what he was going to do through Peter's life. And he's like, just pay attention. Redemption is coming, Peter. But Peter would next get kind of out of control. Of course the guards would come to get Jesus there in the Garden of Gethsemane. And Peter would chop off one of the guard's ears.

We know that he was rebellious, out of control. He was angry. He was afraid. And when we have big feelings, when we can forget what to do with those big feelings. And we can begin to act out of our own weakness. We can talk ourselves in and out of things we would normally never think about doing

this fall. Somebody falsely accused me of something that I didn't do. And my husband was standing next to me when the accusation came and he knew that I could have not done what it was that they were accusing. And let me tell you, he went ballistic on them. He went, he was, if he had had a sword, he might have cut off their ear. He had big feelings of fear and anger and he was irrational. And it happens that fast. That's how fast we can get out of control. God knows our weaknesses. And He says, "I want you to stay alert. I'm about to do something." The enemy though, on the other hand, what he wants, he wants to damage. And he'll take it any direction he can get it at any time, he can get it. We have an enemy advancing against us.

And if we don't stay alert to him, I mean, Peter would later, write, right? We have this lion that's roaming around us. We have to stay alert cause he wants to destroy us. And when we get that kind of out of control feeling, what typically happens is, we want to quit. And we can assume that that that's what Peter probably thought after he denied Christ three times, he probably felt like, you know, I've, I've gone too far. I mean, have any of you ever thought, like I've gone too far? We, the reason we can assume that is because, after Jesus resurrects, it'll say in Mark 16, Jesus says, Hey, go get the disciples and Peter, because Peter thought I can't be one of them anymore. You don't understand. I literally denied Christ three times. But Jesus is not living our days

one at a time sequentially like we do. He's not going, "Man, you crossed the line. You are out of control. You are numb. You are asleep. You fell into temptation. You did something you shouldn't." And he's not stuck like that with us. He's looking at our whole life at one time. And he knew he had something good for Peter still. He knew about the denial. He knows when we've given up and quit, he knows. He knows everything that you have thought everything that you have done, He knows everything. And he still wants you.

Remember the Exodus? Right? So that happened with Moses and Pharaoh during that was the original Passover. 50 days later, Moses would go up on a mountain, come down with the 10 commandments. That we celebrate that season 50 days after Passover and in Hebrew with this word called Shavuot. And Shavuot, they do a couple of different things on Shavuot. They read this verse, Jeremiah 31 31 to 33. And it says once the law was written on tablets of stone, because it's true. Once we have the 10 commandments written on tablets of stone, but coming is the day when the law will get written directly on the hearts of men. If you're celebrating the Feast of Shavuot, that 50 days after Passover, you're also going to be reading the book of Ezekiel. The book of Ezekiel has all these references in the beginning about flashes of lightning and fire.

So what happens after Jesus dies, and the Passover? Fifty days later, everybody got together for Shavuot. That's what they've been doing their whole life. The word in Hebrew is Shavuot. The word in Greek is Pentecost. What do we know happened at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2? They were all sitting there reading about once the law was written on tablets of stone, but coming the law will be written directly on the hearts of men. And all of a sudden, a tongue of fire came and rested upon their heads. And they all began to speak in all kinds of words, in all kinds of languages. When Moses came down off that mountain, back in the book of Exodus, you know what they were doing? They weren't waiting for that tablet of stone. They weren't waiting for him. They instead had built a golden calf. And in frustration and anger, in the book of Exodus, you can read about how 3000 people lost their life

that day as, as the Levites, ran from one end of the camp to the other, with the swords buried in their hands. It's heartbreaking. But if you go to the first Pentecost in acts chapter two, what did God do when the word of God came onto Peter? When God decided to use the one that denied him three times, the one that fell asleep in the garden, when the one that had been out of control and cut off the ear of a soldier? When God decided to use him, it says at the end of Acts chapter 2 that on that day they added 3000 people to the church. Let me tell you, Jesus could have added any number one. He could have said 1500, 5,000, 4,200. He could have picked any number he wanted, but he was making a message that which has been lost.

I will redeem again. I'm going to remind you of that which we lost on that very first Shavuot. I'm going to remind you, on this very first Pentecost, it's a new day and I'm going to do new things. And I'm going to do them through the most broken of us. The most lost and out of control of us. The most been in the wrong places, the kind of people, the ones I've challenged, the ones that have fallen asleep, the ones that found themselves. Now I'm going to use absolutely everyone in this story. And I think that's what got me so excited about this question. When I started studying it. It's like, God, doesn't walk by those that are sleeping and go, well, I can't believe they fell asleep. I mean, did they not read their Torah? They're supposed to stay up on this night.

I can't believe they fell asleep. Don't they understand what I'm about to go through. He doesn't judge like that. So why would we? He walks by someone's leaving and says, wake up something good is about to happen. That's that's what I'm telling you. Vineyard family. That's what I feel like he's saying to us, wake up, I'm doing a new thing. I'm doing a new thing in your church. I'm doing a new thing in your life. I'm doing a new thing in your city. I'm doing a new thing in this country. Wake up. Revival is coming. Do you understand? I want to use every one of you. I don't care where you have been. And I don't, I don't know on this day where you find yourself, if you like identify with a miracle Peter, and you're like, I can't wait. Call on me. I want to walk on water.

Or if you identify with the numb, sleeping, Peter, I don't know if you identify with that out of control Peter. You're not even sure what you believe anymore. Or I don't know if you identify with that redeemed Peter who understands everywhere he's been in the forgiveness that God has given him. And now he's ready to build the church wherever it is that you find yourself. God says, come into my family. I want a relationship with you. I've got a story for you. And here's what I want you to hear me say, I think he's going to send us out. He did not call us into his family to be some kind of huddle. He called us into his family to send us out, out into a kingdom that is desperate to hear this kind of good news out into a kingdom. That's confused out there in the world. They're lost and hurting.

Listen to me: We have a place for you in this church. So go to people who are lost. Love your neighbors. Love them well. Find time with Jesus to surrender to him, to confess your sin, to wake yourself up. And if you're feeling pressed in any way in that, in that Gethsemane. If you're feeling that kind of pressure, then watch out. Cause it's about to get really, really good. Let's pray. Oh Jesus. I love, I love, love that you care about what's going on with our soul. I love that You want us to wake up. I love that you see our whole life at one time. I love that when you look ahead, you see hope, even though we see uncertainty, and we don't have any idea what the rest of the path looks like, you give us your word to light it up step at a time. Lord, we trust you. We trust you for all the things that we want to happen. All the things we say, we align ourselves with your will. Whatever it is you want to do, sign us up. Jesus, we, most of all, long to be in relationship and fellowship with you. So help us. Help us wake up, get our attention, call on us. And I pray these things in your Holy and precious name. Amen. Thanks for joining us for Vineyard Cincinnati Church, where for over 30 years, we have believed that small things done with great love will change the world. Vineyard Cincinnati is open to everyone, no matter what your thoughts are about God or church. Whether you're new to the church, or have been around it your whole life, you're in good company with those of us who are exploring who God is or rediscovering what church can be. If you've enjoyed this service and want to know more about us, visit, and someone will be in touch with you very shortly. Once again, that's