Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
If we are being honest, you and I can all too often find ourselves relating to Peter in this passage. We find ourselves tired, drained and overwhelmed with the pressures of life. So when we think about being alert, we think about making sure we have sufficient cups of coffee or the right energy drink (sugar free of course) in our systems. Our desire to pump our bodies with caffeine and adrenaline usually comes on the heels of a long day or week that we simply need to power through.
As we get a glimpse of Jesus in the garden of gethsemane, we begin to understand that Jesus knew exactly what it means to experience the weight of life pressing in. Hebrews 4:15 says, “Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin.” In the garden, Jesus was smack dab in the middle of the single most soul crushing trials of human existence. In between the mystery of being both fully God and fully human, we hear the soul cries of Jesus to the Heavenly Father as he’s tempted to take an easier route. A path that does not ultimately lead to the cross.
You and I are faced with temptations of various forms every day of our lives that have a way of pressuring us with overwhelming fatigue. If we are not careful, we can easily default to our fleshly solutions of “powering through” in your own strength. Our minds quickly become flooded with phrases such as “try harder”, “be better”, or “man up”. But what if there is a different way to shoulder the weight of life’s temptations? In this passage we can learn from Jesus, our model for life and ministry. You see Jesus didn’t just tell Peter to be alert and pray, he modeled it with his life. So when the family is falling apart or when our emotions are at the brink, may we decide not to simply “power through”, but to follow Jesus. Stay alert and pray! The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.
1. Do I find my prayer life being more reactive, pro-active or simply inactive?
2. How might God be calling me and or my family to cultivate spiritual “awareness” and practice the discipline of prayer with Him in the daily/weekly rhythms of life?