Matthew 26:40-41 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 is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. KJV
Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, couldn’t you stay awake and watch with me even one hour? Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak! NLT
There is a riddle, there is a great mystery about how the spirit and body are united—they are both different substances, one is eternal and from heaven and is supernatural and goes on forever, regardless; the other is found only in the earth, and is temporary, one is now, and the other is forever; the flesh falls back to the earth and becomes forever done; while the other, the spirit, goes on forever—our spirit existed before the earth was created; and our spirit survives the earth and goes on forever.
I think what is mysterious about this arrangement is, that the spirit existed with God before the world ever was, before God created the earth; our spirit dwelt with him in the kingdom of God along with all of the host of heaven.
The earth was created eons “after” God called our spirit out of himself and gave it freedom to associate with him, and be a part of everything else that he has created.
On the other hand the earth and our flesh, is a more recent occurrence, or creation in our lives, and it is not permanent; the flesh has never been to heaven, and it will never ever go to heaven—but yet the flesh has a powerful influence over our spirit once our spirit enters the flesh.
In our text the Spirit of Jesus is in the flesh, and it is coming to its last hours in the flesh—and Jesus is wrestling with weather to go now, or to stay a while longer in the flesh—so he asks his disciples to go to a quiet and sacred place where he had found solace so many times for his spirit while it was in the flesh.
He took them hoping that together they might discover the answer to the riddle, the mystery of how the body and spirit; who are such dissemble objects, are nevertheless tied together, they all sense that a separation is coming between the flesh and the spirit, and their question is what happens to both the flesh and the spirit after this separation; and moreover is there any need for them to be joined forever—he, and they are seeking to know what happens when the body and the spirit separates—and where the me of me is going and how does it exist without a flesh and blood body.
He sought this not only for himself, but for them also. But when he got to the place of prayer where God had sanctified the very ground, to the place where he and they might solve this riddle this mystery for themselves, and also leave it on record for all who follow them in the earth, including us today, what happens when the spirit separates from the body.
But when he got to the place of prayer, or on the way there; he realized that his disciples were unprepared spiritually, and physically, to enter this adventure with him.
Jesus knew by divine insight that these men would be a hindrance to him spiritually out there in the garden of prayer, but he had taken them with him, and he had to do something with them.
Now not all of the disciples were on the same level spiritually—you see you come to your spirituality by how well you hold the devil, that spirit that is not like God in check—some do this better than others and the better job you do of this determines your spirituality.
So he left the nine who he knew had not risen to the spiritual level he had hoped for or their potential—he told them to stay here and watch and pray with me—I imagine he said within himself, watch and pray with me as best you can, because they had not risen to their full potential spiritually—the flesh and human nature had to much of a hold on them because they had not done a very good job holding that spirit that is not like God in check—so their spirit and willing but the flesh is holding their spirit down.
Then he took Peter, James, and John, who had reached a spiritual level above that of the other nine, and he went a little further with them, and then he realized that they had not fully learned how to master their spirit and their flesh, how to harmonize the spirit and the flesh; that they to had to bend to the flesh and to human nature.
He knew that if I am going to unravel this mystery, that he and those with him had to be spiritually and mentally sharp; but already the body, the flesh is taking its toll on them—so he must get away from even the best of them; so he said to them, you stay here and watch and pray, while I go yonder and pray.
Finally he is alone with the Lord—do you know what it is to be alone with the Lord? Everything God has is before you, and you can ask for anything you want, there are no limitations on anything that God has made, for you are a part of everything else he has made, its yours, it is before you, you can see it, you can touch it, its yours.
Jesus knew this, and he says in so many words—Father I know what you and I, and the rest of these who have been in this ministry with me agreed to before you put our spirits into these human bodies—but I just want to see if you can modify what we agreed to a little.
Let this cup pass from me if it is thy will, let me stay here a little longer if you will—now God had predestined how the mission of Jesus and those with him would turn out; it was his sovereign will that it end in a certain way; so God does not answer him, he is not going to change what he has predestined—I don’t even know if God himself can change what he has predestined.
It is not that any being, or thing, is limiting him, but he is dealing with himself and what he has already foreordained.
So in the text Jesus comes back to his disciples and find them sleeping—and Jesus realizes the enormous effect that the flesh has on the spirit—not only their spirit, but his spirit also—so he says to them, what, could you not watch and pray with me one hour? Could you not hold the flesh in check for just one hour—could you not suppress your human nature for one hour?
Then he utters what he had found out about his spirit, and their spirit thus far; he says, indeed the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak—and then he goes back and prayed: My Father! If the cup cannot be taken away until I drink it, your will be done.
What Jesus found at that last hour is that there is no way around the flesh in this world. It demands, and it extracts a price from everyone here in the world for its use here in the earth.
When Jesus uttered these words he surrendered his flesh to the world for the world to do with it as it pleased—at bodily death we have to surrender the flesh so that the world can do with it as it pleases, for it belongs to the earth and to the earth it shall return—but our spirit has already fled this robe of fles, and is now completely supernatural as all spirits are outside of the flesh.
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