Summary: Good intentions don’t cut it!
Gethsemane – “The Spirit is Willing but the Body is Weak”
August 23, 2009
Me: I have never been known as a person of physical strength.
I don’t think anyone will ever confuse me with say, Arnold Schwarzenegger or anybody like that.
When we were working on the parking lot, I envied the guys who could swing those pickaxes longer than I could.
I wear out easily, there’s no question of that.
I’m facing a few physical challenges right now, and along with some other issues regarding major life transitions, it’s easy for me to get very tired, where all I can do is just sit down or lie down and go to sleep.
We: Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about, right? You’re there now or have been in recent memory.
You’re exhausted, for one reason or another, or maybe even a whole bunch of reasons.
Then we look at what we’ve been hoping to get done or accomplish and discouragement sets in. And possibly even more weariness.
And if we’re not careful, we can actually become paralyzed into inaction, because we’re just too tired – physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.
It’s no fun, is it?
Our Scripture passage for today addresses that, and I hope that you will walk away from this time today both challenged and encouraged.
God: We looked at this passage last week, looking at what it told us about Jesus. It can also tell us something about the disciples and even about us.
Matthew 26:36-46 (p. 703-704) –
(This takes place right after the Last Supper. Judas had left the dinner to set up the betrayal of Jesus, and now we find Jesus coming to a place called Gethsemane.)
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
42 He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"
Last week I focused on the anguish Jesus went through and how regardless of the fact that Jesus asked for the cup of suffering to be taken from Him, He knew He needed to complete the mission He had been given.
He was strengthened during His time in prayer, and He bravely met the men who had been set to arrest Him.
Today I want to focus on the disciples who were with Jesus.
I mentioned last week that these guys were exhausted.
They had already had a long evening celebrating the Passover, which is itself a very involved celebration.
You think Christmas around your house is involved – with all the decorations, presents and such, Passover was even more so.
Nothing about the way we celebrate Christmas is mandated by God, but the Passover was mandated to the last detail, and there were some things that had to be included. It was a big deal.
Two days previous to that, Jesus had told them that during this Passover He would be handed over to the Gentiles to be crucified.
And then during that special meal and celebration, Jesus laid a couple heavy things on them:
First, He told them that one of them would betray Him to be crucified, as He mentioned two days earlier.
Then He gave them some bread and wine, saying that these were His body and blood, given for the forgiveness of sins.
After that, they started walking to the Mount of Olives, and during that walk Jesus tells them that all of them are going to run away from Him in a little while, even though they all denied they would.