Jesus didn’t fire the disciples for sleeping on the job in the garden. He didn’t terminate them when they panicked in a storm. He didn’t kick them out of his circle even when they argued about who would be the greatest in the kingdom! Can you imagine? I would have thought they’d be disqualified then and there. But He understood their flesh was weak, and He was patient and so merciful.
Anybody feeling weak?
There are days when it feels like a chore to pray and read the Bible. Yes, I said it. I’ve recognized that when I’m struggling emotionally or mentally, reading and praying is difficult because I often don’t “feel” anything. Then I become more discouraged that my spirit isn’t strong enough to overcome the flesh. BUT...today I recalled a verse of Scripture in a TOTALLY different way than I’d ever thought of it before.
Jesus had been praying before his arrest. He had asked his friends to keep watch and pray with Him. Mark 14:37, 38 says, “And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
I had always read those words as chastisement and rebuke. As an indictment against the disciples. Today, I heard them in my spirit in a tone of compassion and understanding, even sympathy. Jesus knew what it was like to be tired! I heard those words in the same tone one would use when lifting a small child out of their car seat, who had dozed off on the ride home. “You’re sleepy, aren’t you, buddy? I know, it’s been a long day.”
Yes, Jesus’s words are a warning. They encourage us to be vigilant. But there is so much love in them. How often do we miss the love in His voice? I pray we’ll hear the compassion that compels us to come to Him, and not condemnation.
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