“And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, ‘so could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” Matthew 26:40-41
I have read these verses many times as just a recording of what happened in the Garden before Jesus was arrested and crucified. But while we are looking at prayer, I wanted to come at it from a little different approach. Really the way we should be looking at all scripture. What can I learn from it? I believe that every word of scripture is there for us to learn something from it. I also believe that these are stories of things that happened and that as I read it as a story that helps me personify it. When I started reading scripture and picturing the events in my mind as I read, it came alive for me in a way that it never had before. But let us not forget as we read the stories of what happened that there is a lesson in every word of it.
“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16
So let’s get back to our scripture we are studying for today in Matthew. This took place when Jesus was in the Garden and He had taken with Him Peter, James and John. He had asked them to watch out for Him while he went on a little farther away from them and prayed. And the disciples fell asleep. Now also remember this was right after the Lord’s Supper, where He had warned them that one of them was going to betray Him. And He had already told Peter that He was going to deny Him. He returns from praying and He finds them asleep. Now we can look back at this story and think “why couldn’t they see what was happening?” But as it unfolded in real time, Peter and the rest of the disciples missed a lot of clues as to what was coming next. But don’t we do the same thing many times? How many times do we in hind sight look back over events and think did I not see that coming? The lesson for us here is in those words “watch and pray”. You see I know on my own I could be a wretched woman. There is no telling how much mess I could get myself into if I were not looking out. Because I get myself in pretty big messes even with my attempts to “watch and pray”! You see Jesus knew Peter’s denial was at hand. He had already even warned Peter that it was coming. But Jesus also knew Peter’s heart was all in for Him. Peter’s spirit did not ever WANT to deny Jesus. But Peter was a man, he was human flesh, just like we are. Could Peter have pulled his bootstraps up and done what he desired?
“Peter said to him, ‘Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!’ And the disciples said the same.” Matthew 26:35
Jesus knew that the only way Peter would have been able to keep with that resolve was through being watchful of what was coming and praying for the strength to stick with it. But before we judge Peter, let’s look at our own fleshly weaknesses. We all have them. I have lessons that I have had to learn over and over and my resolve will say I will never do that again! Whatever my “that” may be. We all have a “that”! Could it be gossip, could it be anger, could it be the negative spirit that lives inside? Could it be that drink or that substance, or porn or some other addiction? We all have a weakness brewing inside of us. We all need to be watchful and pray. By now you know that I like to read scripture in other versions. It’s like taking something and looking at it from all angles. I like how The Passion Translation reads.
“Keep alert and pray that you’ll be spared from this time of testing. You should have learned by now that your spirit is eager enough, but your humanity is weak.” Matt. 26:41 TPT
Peter’s spirit was eager enough to follow Jesus to His death. But he had a few moments of weakness when he denied Him 3 times even before the sunrise after making that statement. My spirit is enough to say I am going to resolve to not fall into the same old traps over and over. Yet if I don’t keep my watch over my spirit and pray that the Lord will let me be mindful of that weakness I have, I will fall right into the traps before the sun rises the next day.
Step back and look and see ~ what is your weakness? And how can you be watchful and pray over your own spirit? The spirit is willing, but without prayer our humanity is so very weak!
I pray you have a great Monday!