While Jesus was going through the greatest temptation in his life before the cross, he knew that his disciples would also go through temptation and testing. Before testing and temptation, the only protection was prayer, so he prayed and he asked his disciples to pray as well. SWIM says, “Like disciples, we may have good intentions, but they are simply not enough to keep us faithful to God during times of testing. Our only hope is to be strengthened through prayer so that our spirits will be able to resist the temptations of our flesh.” We usually think we will be okay because of God’s mercy. We think Jesus will take care of us during the testing and temptation. However, there is what we are supposed to do while there is what God is supposed to do. Jesus bore much heavier burden and temptation before the cross. That was not our burden. However, we had also our burden – to be with him as his witness instead of running away from him while he was carrying the cross instead of us.
When I go through troubles and hardships, I know it is not me but God who deals with those troubles and hardships. However, I also have my part. I should not run away or give up or complain during hardships. God will take care of my hardships but I should be there with God trusting him instead of grumbling. For that small role, hanging in there trusting God while he is doing everything for me, I need prayer. If there was other way to prepare or deal with testing and temptations other than prayer, Jesus would have told us. However, what Jesus did and what he asked disciples to do before testing and temptation was only prayer. Let’s pray, especially during today and tomorrow during Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
The spirit is willing but the body is weak. (John 26:41)
Peter, John and James, the most famous of Jesus’ disciples couldn’t remain faithful to their master when told to keep watch and pray. They were given three chances, and each time they failed, deserting Him at a time when He really could have used their moral support. Can we cry, “Unfair!” to Jesus when circumstances or people disappoint us? We are creatures with such short and selective memories.
I was thinking recently that God already gave me the 5 things I thought I wanted the most in this life — a husband, 2 healthy girls, my health, a house and a stable job. That’s much more than many people have received. If I never receive anything else from God, of if it was all taken away, I have no justifiable grounds to complain. I should always be living with joy for these blessings I’ve been given. But I don’t. I always want more.
Maybe Pastor Justin is right; it is only prayer that allows the body to overcome its physical and emotional limitations.