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Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41 NIVAs young girls, my cousins, sister and I would tease my grandma when we'd catch her falling asleep as she read stories to us or watched TV with us. Grandma would say, "I was just resting my eyes."
We've all been there...that overwhelming exhaustion that comes with being a parent, or meeting an important deadline, or going through a traumatic event like a death of a close friend or relative. We've all had those times when all we want to do is just close our eyes...if even for a moment.
But the moment turns into minutes...There was a time when Jesus became very upset with his disciples when he caught them "resting their eyes." They had just experienced their last supper together, Jesus had explained to them how his death was drawing near, and several of them had scoffed at the thought of denying him, let alone betraying him to anyone. They were devastated, they were troubled, they were exhausted.
And maybe even many, many minutes.
Suddenly, we find we have fallen sound asleep...
Then Jesus tells them before he withdraws for a time of prayer alone: Pray that you will not fall into temptation. Luke 22:40 NIVHow hard is that? He doesn't even just bid them to pray, he actually throws out a topic for them!!!
Of course, Jesus knew that Satan was just itching to catch them at their most vulnerable; tired, afraid, confused...those are some of Satan's favorite adjectives!!! And the root word used which is translated to "temptation" is peirasmos which means "the trial of a man's fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy."
Jesus was urging them to pray so that Satan couldn't assault their faith during such a critical time....But instead they fell asleep.
When Jesus returns he asks them..."Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?" Matthew 26:40 NIVOuch.
He's the one facing HIS last hours before fulfilling his destiny as Savior of the world, and they couldn't stay awake with him to watch over him and keep him safe as he prayed.
But, it's even worse...in a couple of the accounts of this same event, Jesus gives them a second chance and they STILL fall back to sleep!This reminds me so much of ME. The number of times that God has to remind me of the same thing over and over again, and I still fall back into the same pattern of thought or behavior. How many times have I fallen asleep on God, just totally given in to the weakness of my flesh and never really tried to stay awake and alert; never thought to be on guard for Satan as he prowls around in my life?
I'll try to remember this image; the image of the people who truly loved Jesus, who followed him, walked with him, ate with him, and taught with him as they struggled to keep their spirit ahead of their flesh.
Maybe the disappointment shown by Jesus, "Couldn't you...one hour?"; maybe that will help me reconsider before I try to rest my eyes as I'm in the middle of doing God's work.
Pray: Lord, you prayed to your Father in heaven so fiercely in that garden that your sweat turned to blood; I pray that I will overcome my weak flesh so that I can pursue your will with such passion.