And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Do these verses ever describe us? ”…the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” I would have to be the first to raise my hand and the first to say amen to that. The context of this statement is Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. He was praying in great agony, looking forward to the agony of the cross. He left a few of his disciples to “tarry ye here, and watch with me.” (vs. 38) When He came back, He found them asleep. It was the most agonizing part of His life, and His most trusted disciples fell asleep. We could look down on them for that, but, truth be told, we would likely have done the exact same thing.
Instead of berating them, Jesus offered them some great advice. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation…” If we want to avoid temptation, we need to “watch and pray.” Have you ever noticed that temptation seems to hit us when we are at our most vulnerable? That is because we are not watching and praying. Simply paying attention and praying will help us avoid temptation.
After giving them this advice, Jesus gave them a brilliant insight into the nature or man. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” If that isn’t true, I don’t know what is. Every one of us wants to do right. We all want to serve the Lord. Our spirits really are willing. When we wake up in the morning, we want to have a wonderful day living for the Lord.
But how often do we fail? We fail because, while our spirit is willing, our flesh is very weak. How do we overcome that weak flesh? “Watch and pray.” Perfect insight into the human condition and perfect advice from Jesus.