Friday, February 17, 2012

120217 - Matthew 26 - a breakdown of the disciples' conditioning and how it added to the sorrow of Jesus

Friday SOAP: Jesus endured the loss of all things before His crucifixion: He was betrayed by one friend, denied by another, abandoned by the rest, treacherously (and illegally) persecuted by religious leaders, slandered by false witnesses, insulted and brutalized by ignorant officers of the guard, and saw the love and loyalty of all His friends fail. And the worst was yet to come. (Matthew 27:46) No wonder He was under such stress and felt such sorrow. No wonder His sweat was as drops of blood ("hematohidrosis," Luke 22:44) and they had to compel Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross for Him. (Matt. 27:32) It was in anticipation of all this that Jesus expressed the turmoil He felt to His very closest friends.
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S: Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:38-41).

O: Jesus alerted them to the stress He was feeling and specifically asked them to stay with Him. But they could not pray a single hour with Him. I think the temptation He meant was primarily what would come later - but resisting this temptation would have been a key to victory as well.

A: I wish I didn't see myself so clearly here. The stakes couldn't be higher. They couldn't prevent Him from going to the cross, but if there was any way to comfort Him and show Him support and love, it would have been praying with Him here. Did they still doubt His words? (Matt. 26:2, 31-32) Was the emotional meal, followed by the walk, too much for them physically? Imagine the toll on Christ Himself. "Bodily exercise profiteth little" (1 Timothy 4:8) -- and yet, this moment found them unprepared for the temptation that arose: physical, emotional and spiritual. (Ironically, as I try to better prepare myself for whatever physical challenges may arise, I am at even greater risk of falling asleep at a moment when I should be alert.)

P: Father, please guide me and prepare me in such a way that I won't be overwhelmed by temptation. Help me watch and pray.

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