Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Shepastor: "What Temptation is Knocking on Your Door?"

37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14: 37-38

This week we retrace the steps of Jesus from the triumphant gates of Jerusalem towards the brutality of Golgotha. Our scripture focus for today, however, considers Jesus’ words to the disciples and yes to us.

In one sense, Jesus’ question is somewhat startling. The disciples clearly were feeling the pressure of increasing opposition towards their leader and subsequently them. No doubt they were filled with anxiety, fear and questions. They didn’t understand Jesus’ true mission. They didn’t seem to “get” that Jesus was about to die for the sins of the world. Their hearts were heavy, they were tired and they were sleepy.

Yet Jesus confronted them about their sleep. Furthermore, Jesus admonished them to “Watch and pray” so that they would not fall into temptation. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” What was Jesus suggesting? After all, they were human beings. What was happening that night in Gethsemane?

One might argue that Jesus was being confronted with His own duality – fully human and fully divine…on the human side, filled with fear, stress, anticipation of the blood bath coming and anger that his “friends” left him alone to battle the spiritual and psychological darkness by himself…not even wrestling with Him in prayer. On the divine side, Jesus knew that He was about to face separation momentarily from the Father because He would bear the sins of the world.

But what temptations would the disciples face beyond the obvious – denial, betrayal, desertion? Was Jesus speaking about something even beyond Calvary... “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak?”

What life struggles, stresses, difficulties, disappointments are making you sleepy? What time in prayer are you neglecting because you are sleepy…not just physically weary but spiritually weary…oblivious, undiscerning, clouded vision due to life circumstances?
Jesus knows our human struggles. He put on human flesh so that He could identify. But this scripture seems to suggest that even the heaviest of struggles that life has to offer does exempt us from remaining alert. Jesus urges us to remain alert – alert to our own realities…alert to the things that would over take us and convince us that we don’t have the energy to pray…alert and on the post in the spirit.

Each of us face different temptations. Simply put, temptation is anything that turns our hearts away from God…God’s way, God’s Word, God’s will. What temptation is knocking on your door? What is causing your eyes to be heavy with sleep? Jesus’ admonition to us all… “Watch and pray…although you are willing to walk right, your flesh is weak and you cannot do it without the power of prayer.”

As we prepare to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord, Jesus, may we remember the lessons learned in Gethsemane. Temptation continues to knock…

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,

Pastor Chris

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