The battle within
They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. Mark 14:32-40 As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He knew that the peak of His ministry was quickly approaching. He was aware that the legions of Satan’s evil forces were organizing to defeat Him. This was it. Jesus told His disciples that He was deeply distressed, even to the point of death. Surely the three disciples that He brought further with Him, Peter, James and John, could have sensed the intensity in His voice and the earnestness of His demeanor. Certainly they could have found the strength to listen to His request. Yet He found them asleep that caused Him to be disappointed. They had fallen asleep at the most crucial moment in human history, not once but three times! He brought His inner circle not because He needed them but to reveal to them who they were as He prepares them for a life of service. There are moments that our spirit must overcome the desires of the flesh. There will always be struggle within whether to obey the Lord or not. In Luke’s account of the same event, he mentioned, “...he told them, “Pray that you may not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40). He invited them to be there so they could learn from His example how He faced His battle. And being overcome by the flesh will lead to disobedience. His command to “watch and pray” can be placed aside because we feel that there are more important things to do. Jesus knew their weakness so He told them to watch and pray so they will not fall into temptation. Don’t pass on the opportunity when asked to watch and pray. When we begin to live up to His call, we will realize what a privilege to give our life to Him. With God’s help and grace, work on bringing every physical desire under the control of the Holy Spirit. This will make you follow His desires for your life so you could do what He asks you to do.
Noel De Guzman