Keep watch…

Have we been let down when we needed the support of our circle?  Have we  found ourselves trusting and depending upon something that is man-made?  Have we made promises and intended to help others and failed to follow through?  Where is our focus? 

Matthew 26:36-46 

 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away  unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

 

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Mat&c=26&t=NLTP&x=7&y=6>

Anguished and distressed; signs of the inner turmoil that Jesus is experiencing  He makes a request of his followers to help him pray at this time.  “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He then makes a request of the Father to remove the cup of suffering from Him finishing with words indicating obedience; “Your will be done.”

The followers sleep and show us the failings of mankind.  They voice their intentions, they want to support and intend to, but sleep overcomes them, they experience failure.  Jesus is experiencing the weakness in mankind through the failings of others but also within his own body.  He knows everything we go through because He has been there.   Many times “the spirit is willing but the body weak.”    Where do we want to place our trust?  Like Christ, return to the Father, we can place our trust in the source of power that is able to carry us through anything.

Three times Jesus prays to have the cup removed and three times he returns to obedience and states “Your will be done.”  He is not losing sight of His mission, His purpose and His allegiance.  He knows who He is and what He can do.  Jesus came to terms with the pending agony of His mission.  He demonstrated for us obedience in all things through dependence on the Father.  He had purpose, resolve, commitment and focus.  We can realize that mankind’s intentions are no match for God’s provision.   “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. ”  Keep watch, keep focus, remember who He is and who we are, what He can do and what we can do through Christ, keep the Word of God alive and active in us.

Listen…

Matthew 26:31-35

On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,

‘God will strike the Shepherd,

and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”

Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

“No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same

Pasted from <http://nlt.scripturetext.com/matthew/26.htm

This conversation takes place on the way to the Mount of Olives, after the last supper for the Passover.  The situation is heating up.  Even when we know after three years of evidence, Christ knows…we deny.  Still that way?  Think so.  How many times has the Spirit shown you something, something obvious, right in front of you, and you don’t see the tree for the forest.

This event in Peter’s life may have done more to cement Him to Christ than anything.  He will remember this conversation, replay it many times.

Take away – Christ knew, Christ knows; could we be so arrogant to decide differently?

It’s about attitude and humility.  In a time when they could have shown great support, they are about to fail.  When we allow attitude and pride to rise up and rule, we are rendered useless to the Spirit’s work.  Elsewhere the Word says, walk humbly with your God.  Recognize place, recognize truth, regardless of the position given by mankind, receive from the Lord what He says and walk accordingly.  Allow yourself to be shaped to listen, understand and then act, in that order. 

This was prophecy to be fulfilled.  If we find ourselves in similar situations what can we do differently?  Can we ask what do you want me to do?  In the disciples’ weaknesses Christ became strong.  He established His authority with finality.  In our weaknesses will we allow Him to be strong and establish His authority over and through us? 

After I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.  Words of confidence and assurance.  They were missed in the moment but remembered later.  We can tap into that confidence and rest in that assurance, they are characteristics of Christ and who He is, they can be ours as well.  We know who He is and what He does, we can know who He says we are and what He says we can do.  Let the Word of God be alive and active in you.

Acknowledging our weaknesses…

 

Although he died on the cross in weakness, he now lives by the mighty power of God. We, too, are weak, but we live in him and have God’s power–the power we use in dealing with you. 2 Corinthians 13:4,My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9a NLT

 

Working through Purpose Driven Life,  Day 35 spoke volumes.  We are full of flaws and that is not anything to be ashamed of.  In fact, God uses the weak to do His work.  He is hindered in this if we refuse to recognize and acknowledge our flaws.  1 Corinthians 1:27  (TEV) God purposely chose…what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful.  2 Corinthians 4;7(CEV) states: We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored.  The real power comes from God and not from us. 

An illustration used in the Bible class at school this week focused on the potter and his work.  A young  boy was feeling bad because he didn’t perform at baseball practice like he wanted.  In fact, the others began calling him names.  Going home he was focusing on his poor eyesight, his run-down house, the dilapidated furniture, and his generally poor conditions in contrast with the other’s rich life-style and good strength.  His mother, sensing what was happening, took him for a visit to a potter.  The young boy watched the potter work the clay, after admiring some of the potter’s pottery.  The potter put some clay on the wheel and began to work it, but it began to lean as the form of a vase took shape.  The potter stopped the wheel, took the clay off and began to throw it away.  The young boy said please don’t throw it away, give it another chance.  The potter explained that when he began to work the clay he had a purpose in mind for that clay, sugar bowl needs to be short and wide, vase needs to be tall and slender.  At the boy’s request, he took the clay again, added more water and began to shape a lovely vase.  The boy understood the message, that our flaws seem to be a hindrance to us, but the Potter has a purpose for us and can use us as we are.

God’s power is stored in us, earthen vessels, he has built for a purpose.  We need to focus on His power, not any perceived strengths and weaknesses of ours.  He uses us as we are.  He molds us, shapes us and fills us for His use. In 2 Corinthians 12:9a Paul states, “I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.”  Our weaknesses can prevent arrogance once we recognize and acknowledge them.  Paul states in 2 Corinthians 12:7  “So I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given a gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.” (MSG)

I’m purposing to  not put myself down for my weaknesses, not make excuses for them, simply acknowledge them and  move on.  I am purposing to accept that God uses us all as we are, no excuses, and what is accomplished for Him is done by His power as we are willing vessels.  How about you?