Flesh and Spirit – Passage #4 Lesson 1
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:40-42 (in Context) Matthew 26 (Whole Chapter)
Matthew 26:40-42 above begins with a command or a warning against falling into temptation. The setting could not be more crucial for such a warning.
Jesus has just arrived at Gethsemane. He is awaiting the mob led by one of his personally chosen disciples who will betray him. This lesson is going to probe the scriptures for the word watch from Christ to his disciples.
Our first probing of scripture comes from this same chapter in Matthew. In verse 16 Judas the betrayer of Jesus is found with blood money in his hand for his agreement to hand Jesus over to the chief priests. From the moment he accepted those thirty pieces of silver verse 16 says he Watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to those desiring to kill him.
Our next probe is found in verse 37 as Jesus has selected Peter, James and John to accompany him while he and they pray. It is Jesus desire to have them intercede on his behalf. As he makes clear to them in his confession of verse 38; “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me. We are told Jesus went a little further and fell to the ground and prayed for his cup of death, (which would add the weight of all sin current and future upon him and thereby drive him from his Fathers presence), to be taken from him but only if it was the Fathers will to do so.
He went back and found Peter James and John sleeping whereupon he said; “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” And then to Peter he said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.
Our next scripture probe is found in Genesis 31:49.
For background Jacob fell in love with his uncle Laban’s daughter Rachel. Jacob proposed that he would work for Laban for seven years with Rachel as his wages. His uncle tricked him by giving him his older daughter Leah.
Jacob then agreed to work another seven years for his first love Rachel. Over the years God watched over Jacob and increased his wealth by giving Jacob the best of Laban’s flocks as his own.
Jacob knowing the cunning ways of Laban finally decided to take his flocks and wives and family and go back to the land of his father.
Laban followed after Jacob to force him to return with his flocks and daughters. He also wanted to reclaim his household God’s which Rachel had stolen without Jacob’s knowledge.
Jacob was furious with Laban for accusing him of stealing his Gods and
Reminded him he had served him twenty years and never stole an animal or cheated him. In fact Laban had made him pay for anything that was stolen. Jacob had worked twenty years and had his wages changed ten times.
Laban knowing this was true proposed a covenant to serve as witness that neither he nor Jacob would harm the other. The heap of stones was called Mizpah because Laban said, “May the Lord keep WATCH between you and me.
Probing further Psalms 141:1-4a&b yield this teaching: 1) O lord I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you. 2) May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. 3) Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep WATCH over the door of my lips. 4a&b) Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in the wicked deeds with men who are full of evil.
What better could the disciples have done than to have kept Watch with Jesus and prayed this prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. Especially Peter pleading with the Father that he would keep him from speaking and desiring his safety over loyalty to his Lord.
Past recent and current history and promise ring forth in the next passage from Jeremiah 31: 6-11.
6) There will be a day when Watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, “Come, let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.” 7) This is what the Lord says: Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard and say, “O Lord save your people the remnant of Israel.” 8) See I will bring them from the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. 9) They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them besides streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son. 10) Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; He who scattered Israel will gather them and will Watch over them like a shepherd. 11) For the Lord will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
The world has witnessed a mass increase in the number of returning Jews to their homeland since 1948.
And are not the Muslim nations, the United Nations, the world powers, (including our own nation), not demanding constant cessions from this small harassed nation.
God himself will defend Israel. Woe indeed to their foes. This nation is small in size, but God, has made them a source of blessing beyond many larger and powerful nations. God is standing Watch over “the seed of Abraham.”
Matthew 24: 4- 35 are the words of Jesus exhorting and teaching his disciples of the end of all things. His disciples asked him what the sign of his coming and the end of the age would be. Click on this link, (Matthew 24), to review or familiarize yourself with this critical knowledge. In summary to his answer Jesus said these words.
Starting with Verse 42) therefore keep watch
Because you do not know what day your Lord will come. 43) But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you must also be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Finally the fate of those who fail to watch and prayerfully repent is given by Jesus in verse 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I hope if you are not yet WATCHING for the Coming King Jesus that you will take this opportunity to read this entire chapter. I pray that you allow the Holy Spirit to move in your soul as you do. Eternity is forever! It is critical that you know the reward and the penalty for disregarding the power of God and the gospel message of salvation.
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