January 21, 2020
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Mark 14:38 NKJV
Our verse for today is part of what Jesus said to Simon Peter and the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was to be crucified. Jesus knew what was going to happen later in the evening. He knew that Peter and the disciples would be tempted by fear to abandon Him and to deny Him. In order to help them, Jesus told them what they should do. They should “Watch and pray.”
Jesus knew that the spirits of the disciples were willing. He knew that in their heart of hearts they were willing to stay with Him and pray with Him in His time of need. However, He also knew that the flesh of the disciples was weak. He knew that as bodily beings they were given to sleep and drowsiness at that late hour. He knew there would be a struggle between the sincere intentions of the spirit and the weakness of the flesh.
It is interesting to note that Jesus Himself won the battle between spirit and flesh. He had stayed awake and prayed. And when the temptation came later that night and the next day to abandon His mission on earth, He succeeded in pressing through to the end. The disciples, on the other hand, lost the battle between spirit and flesh. They fell asleep and did not pray. And when the temptation came to abandon Jesus, they did abandon Him. Peter even denied Him three times.
What does it mean to watch and pray? The word translated as “watch” refers to the alertness required of a guard at night. Jesus was telling the disciples to watch for any attacks of the enemy. If the disciples did not remain spiritually alert and if they did not pray for help just as Jesus prayed, then they would be vulnerable to the temptations the enemy would use to attack them.
Jesus’ admonition to watch and pray is a word for all Christians for all time. The enemy is still out there attacking us with every weapon he has at his disposal. Watch and pray, like Jesus said. Stay alert, stand guard, and keep watch for the attacks of the enemy. And pray for the help of the Lord to withstand them and to overcome them