Tastes so good
Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” Mark 14:34
Have you ever come to a portion of scripture in your daily reading or study time that you have read many times before? When that happens, you can be tempted to quickly go through it or even think: I know this part so I will skip on to the next. Instead, when that happens, consider it to be like a delicious meal. Even though you have had your favorite food many times in the past, when it is prepared for you again, you are ready and looking forward to it because it always tastes so good!! You don’t skip and say “Oh, I’ve had that dish before and I know it is good, but I am going to pass this time because it isn’t something new.” No! You know that it is going to be delicious, and you want to enjoy the benefits of the taste and nutrition of that cuisine again. You also know that your physical body need continual nourishment to thrive and survive in life. Really, passing it up is not an option.
If we approach scripture with that mindset, we will be able to enjoy the delights of fresh revelation and new insights every time we look at it. Not to mention the spiritual nourishment we need to grow in our faith walk each day.
The next few sections in Mark 14 are passages that are probably familiar to many of us, so let’s go through these with the anticipation that we have been here before and it was good, so looking at them again at this point in time is going to be delicious and nutritious!!
Jesus often withdrew from His disciples to pray. However, this is the first time He ever took anyone with Him. This time, He took Peter, James and John with Him and told them He was really struggling with what was about to happen. He asked them to keep watch while He went a little further to pray. Jesus knew the guards would be coming for Him soon, so He set up His closest and most trusted guys to keep watch for those who would be coming to arrest Him. Peter James and John watch Him go on ahead and fall on the ground to pray, but they did not understand the depth of His stress. After some time praying, Jesus came back to find them sleeping. He cautioned them to watch and pray because He knew the hour of temptation was coming.
In the disciple’s defense, they had just eaten a big meal and thought they were settling in for the night as they always had before, but when Jesus found them the third time still sleeping, Jesus woke them up to say: The hour has come, let’s go, My betrayer is here.
What would have been changed if the Peter, James and John would have been praying instead of sleeping? Probably nothing in the natural circumstances. These were things that had to take place. However, if Peter had been praying for strength and wisdom at that time, he may not have found himself denying his relationship with Jesus just a few hours later. The point is that their prayers were not for the circumstances to change but for them to be prepared and strengthened for what was ahead.
This is the same message Jesus has for us today. Watch and pray. Not that we are going to change everything around us, though it may happen at times. Mostly it is for us to be strengthened and prepared as we face trials and temptations in life. When we are pressed into God closely and on watch for the enemy’s devises, we are well able to withstand in the evil day. If you are sleeping, your enemy will walk right up and steal, kill and destroy so quickly you won’t even know what hit you.
Today I want to encourage you to watch and pray. Pray for strength, pray for grace and pray for loving life not sleep. Be alert and keeping watch that your enemy does not get the upper hand. Be ready to stand when temptations come and know that you will not even notice many evils pass right by because you are living in that secret place of the most High, your loving Father in heaven.
Today’s scripture reading: Mark 14:32-42
32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.
34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.
36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?
38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words.
40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”