Most of us know that Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples (Judas) and subsequently crucified. But Mark chapter 14 gives us a little bit more insight into what is going on behind the scenes.
While Jesus was really going through it, praying his famous prayer, “Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt,” the disciples that were supposed to be keeping watch were asleep (Mark 14:36). So Jesus said, “Simon [aka Peter], are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Mark 14: 37-89)
These words stood out to me. I can think of quite a few times where my spirit has been willing to do something good, but my weak body, my humanity, prohibited me from doing so. I have this struggle every week actually, where I try my best to wake up to get on the church prayer line at 5am. Needless to say, out of three opportunities to get on the prayer line every week, I usually only make one. The other two times either my alarm doesn’t go off for some reason (the devil!) or I silence my alarm and go back to sleep. I am sure you can think of many similar situations where you have the best intentions but don’t follow through with them.
Peter struggled with this as well. Before Jesus was arrested he told Peter that before the rooster crowed twice, he would deny him 3 times and Peter swore that he would never do such a thing. But as we read today, he found himself denying Jesus probably because he was scared that he too might face the same fate as Jesus or because he just didn’t want to confront the issue. He had made up in his mind earlier that he would not deny Jesus saying, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will…Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” (Mark 14: 29, 31). Even so, the spirit is willing but the body is weak.
Like Peter, there will be times when we succumb to our humanity and despite the best intentions, we give in to temptation. But to be safe we need to “watch and pray” as Jesus commanded. Watching means being discerning and wary of certain situations. Maybe not putting yourself in a place that you don’t need to be or staying away someone that could be detrimental to your spiritual life. And praying…we all know that that means! When you are confronted with temptation, pray for strength to resist like Jesus did when Satan confronted him. James 4:7 says, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Merciful Mondays: Jael
“For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31