September 25

Text: Matthew 26:40, 41

And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?  Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."  (NASB)

It is easy to intend, but it is difficult to follow through.  All that is required to intend is serious thought and perhaps some basic planning.  Intending commonly is done while we actually are involved in something else.  Serious intents can range from “I ought to” to “This is what I will do.”  We really mean to take action.  We go to the trouble of intending because we are serious about doing.

However, “follow through” is an entirely different matter.  It involves two things that kill most serious intents: the “HOW” to produce the opportunity and the “TIME” actually to perform the intent.  To make a serious intent come to life requires that the intender actually take the time to do something.  Doing” what was intended requires awareness and effort.

Can you imagine the positive impact Jesus would have experienced if, when he returned the first time, he found the 3 disciples praying and they simply asked, “Are you O.K.?”

Had we asked the 12, “Are you there for Jesus?  Would you encourage him in times of distress?”  Their answer would have been resounding and prompt!  “Of course we are!  How could you ask if we would encourage him?”  There was nothing wrong with their ability to intend!

However, we are all so self-absorbed!  The 3 were sleepy.  Because they were sleepy, they were unaware of Jesus’ deep grief.  Because they were unaware, there was no concern.  Because there was no concern, there was no effort to encourage.  Why?  Because they were sleepy!

Note something amazing about Jesus!  Though he was grieved and distressed, though he seriously needed encouragement, though he faced rejection, humiliation, and pain, Jesus was aware of and concerned for them.  Though his trial was greater, their trial would be great!  Paraphrased, Jesus said, “If you cannot be concerned for me, be concerned for yourselves.  If you cannot pray for me, pray for yourselves.  Your intentions are good, but that is not enough.  Your coming trial will exceed your imagination!”  The distressed Jesus did what they needed to do!

Suggestion for reflection: Are you self absorbed or Jesus absorbed?  (Read John 21:15-22.)

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