Today’s Scrip-Bit   15 February 2022 Matthew 26:41.

Matthew 26:41.     Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

And it’s a beautiful, sunshiny, though somewhat cold Tuesday morning! But that’s to be expected in the middle of winter. So once the sun is shining and we have Jesus as the number One person in our lives, then ALL’S right with the world, or at least our individual worlds. (smile) And yuh better believe that if we didn’t have the grace, mercy, salvation and all the other good benefits that following Jesus brings, I don’t know what would become of us. I refuse to even think of the sad, sorrowful and negative possibilities. 

And I can testify to some of that right now, because today I’m tired and in a poor frame of mind. Yes friends, the ole fella is only human, and though most days I’m upbeat and carefree, sometimes I get down and tired, just like everybody else. (smile) And please note, that if you are also in the same tired and poor frame of mind, note that it’s not something to be ashamed of, for even our Lord and Saviour Jesus in His earthly sojourn, experienced that lowdown, tired feeling, and that’s why He so often went off by Himself to pray to His Father. 

That’s because only the Father in His amazing generosity and LOVE can rejuvenate our spirit! And the best example we have of Jesus’ tired spirit is that night before His crucifixion when He went with His disciples  to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what was ahead, and that it was for that express purpose He had become flesh, but obviously as flesh, He still preferred not to experience the terrible things that were waiting in store for Him. 

The Good Book tells the story thus: He left the main group of the disciples at the front of the garden, telling them: ‘Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him, Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James and John), and began to be sorrowful (grieved) and very heavy (deeply distressed). Then said he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye (stay, wait) here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.’ (Matt. 26:36-39) 

Now Luke’s gospel adds to the story. ‘And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ (Luke 22:43-44) And the scholars offer this interesting explanation on those verses. 

‘22:43-44. Only Luke notes this. Jesus is borne up in His hour of greatest need, when He must intercede not only for Himself but for His followers, who are about to leave Him in the lurch. Agony appears only here in the New Testament; it points to the intensity of Jesus’ struggle. Surely Jesus wrestles, not so much with death itself, but with His own destiny to be made the sin-bearer for all mankind for all the ages. The punishment that had to be borne for our sins brings Jesus to His knees in anguish,’ 

And why wouldn’t it eh friends? The saving of the world from sin, would be the biggest occurrence after its creation. And it was all on Jesus’ shoulders. It would be like in Greek mythology, Atlas carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. No wonder on the cross, ‘At about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46) 

And the Lord had forsaken Him. It was the first and only time they had been on separate sides. For as the scholars explain: ‘Here we have the high cost to Christ of His atonement for our sins, who was accursed of God as our sin-bearer (c.f. 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13) and suffered the agony of spiritual death for us.’ 

Now, this is going to make the Bit longer than I had originally planned, but since those referenced scriptures are ever so important to the understanding of Jesus’ situation, and only a few of us will check them out, I’m going to quote them here. The first one says: ‘For he hath made him (Jesus)to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’ (2 Cor. 5:21) And the next one proclaims: ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made (having become) a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.’ (Gal. 3:13) And that last part there comes from Deuteronomy 21:23. 

And now that that’s all been settled (smile), we can turn to Matt. 27:50, which says: ‘Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.’ The scholars say: ‘He…cried…with a loud voice, as a shout of triumph, and yielded up His Spirit. In other words, having borne the wrath of God’s judgement against sin, He knew He had triumphed over Satan and the curse of sin.’ 

Yes friends, that was all for our benefit! The Lord suffered a horrible death, with unfair, unwarranted punishment just so that we could have the option of salvation and eternal life. But do we seem to appreciate it eh? Not really nuh, when so many of us have turned away from Him, even refusing to acknowledge His name and His great work on our behalf. 

However, let’s go back to that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, after the first of the three times He prayed the same prayer, and came back to His favourite threesome and found them sleeping: ‘he saith unto Peter, What could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ (Matt. 26:40-41) 

And that is the gospel truth my people. Our spirit is usually willing, but our flesh, which belongs to Satan is very weak and very susceptible to the wiles and deceits of the enemy. That’s why we need prayer; prayer of the serious and sincere kind, if we are to overcome the temptations of sin. Only through the power of Jesus cross and His shed blood can we successfully fight the devil and his evil cohorts, whose only intent is to keep us away from the LOVE, the mercy, grace and salvation offered by Christ. 

And I’m chuckling here my fellow saints, because my spirit has been lifted…give the Lord thanks and praise! That’s because I’ve been involved in His Word and been seeing how Jesus handled the low ebb of His spirit while here on earth with us. So there’s no doubt of the truth that communication with the Lord and His Word is the best way to lift our tired and weary spirits. And for those of us who truly believe that, let’s go home now declaring (yeahhh!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry know to whom we belong, lock, stock and barrel. 

As one strong voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

Now all that’s left is for us to go out and share that amazing LOVE and friendship of Jesus with others, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do! Much LOVE!

…it’s tough to do…but if we sincerely concentrate on Jesus…we can overcome the weakness of the flesh… 

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