Daily Bible Reading Devotional [Matthew 24:36-44]-November 29, 2016

Scripture Reading(s)

Matthew 24:36-44

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”

37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”

39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?

41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.

44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.


Lydia.jpg This is a passage about how Christ exemplifies what it means to stand strong in our devotion to God when going through the storms of life. Here we see that the faith of the disciples was about to be put through one of the hardest tests they had ever faced. Jesus was about to be taken away from them to endure one of the most painful and humiliating acts being put on someone and eventually be put to death all because He did not want us to have to endure it. Our sin is what drove Him there and in this passage we see that there are two responses one can have to obeying God and being faithful.

The first is responding with an attitude of inactiveness towards what God has called us to do. Here Jesus tells His disciples to stay awake and watch while he goes and prays. This was at a time in which it had reached nightfall and the disciples were probably physically tired. The true test of staying awake was to see if they would fight through the temptation from falling asleep, and therefore not giving into their fleshly desires. The human nature would naturally try to avoid having to go through the fire to follow after God even when it meant risking their lives. Christ wanted for them to be alert and aware of the present dangers in order that they could be properly equipped to fight off temptation to give into fear and not stand firm.

The second response that we can have is the opposite, being truly devoted. Christ sets that example for us through His acts of prayer and and submitting Himself to the will of God. In His prayer some might think that He was trying to get out of having to die for our sins. That was not the case. What His prayer depicts is that He was about to learn what it meant to follow after God through suffering. He knew that from a human standpoint that one would not choose to die. This was to show that this plan was all divinely appointed by God and that nothing humanly possible could stand in the way of that. Yes, we know Jesus to be both man and God. Yet Christ was about to die in the role of  man, He was about to feel physical, emotional and spiritual pain that was unlike any other that one could endure. He was exemplifying that our strength as humans comes from God alone.

As Christians we are going to be put through the fire and our faith will be tested. Christ set the ultimate example of what it means to obey Christ with our whole hearts and that it is through suffering that we learn how to fully depend on God and not on our own strength. Christ took on the sin of the entire world and that was not an easy task. The whole point is that it is supposed to be hard and fighting for what is sinless and pure is not the norm. Hebrews 5:8 illustrates this point for us,

“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”

It is a battle but it is one that we can face and win through complete dependence on God alone. 

Justin-Holmes1.jpgJesus’ prayer in the garden is a prayer of anguish. He knew what was going to be done to Him. He knew the pain He would endure. He knew the amount of mocking and scorning that would be done. Yet, Jesus accepted His fate as the sacrifice for all mankind. Meanwhile, the disciples could not even stay awake and watch over Jesus as He prayed. Such a simple task was met with an inability to perform. Truly, if the disciples knew what would become of Jesus or why He went to pray, I like to believe they would have been more vigilant.

In our own lives we also have a duty to guard and watch. We must guard against the evil and temptation of this world. Like the disciples, often the mind is willing but the flesh is weak. We must seek the power that is in the Spirit of Christ to help us to overcome such weaknesses. Remember that when we are weak God is strong.


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