The Nature of Temptation

41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”Matthew 26:41 (NASB)

38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 (NASB)

45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46 (NASB) 

Temptation: Temptation is any thing, state, way or condition that, upon any account whatsoever, has a force or power to seduce, to draw the mind and heart of a man or woman from his or her obedience, which God requires of them, into any sin, in any degree of it whatsoever.

As Jesus agonized in Gethsemane in the hours prior to His trial, torture, and crucifixion, His disciples had a hard time staying awake. He went off by Himself to pray, but asked James, John and Peter to watch and pray. However, each time He came to them, He found them asleep. If we look closely at Mathew 26:41, Mark 14:38, and Luke 22:45-46, we will see the whole of our Lord’s caution to His disciples seems to have been, “Arise, watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” Our Lord knew that danger was near. He knew that His disciples would be scattered from Him when He was arrested. However, His concern seems to be on these men that they would not enter into temptation. Notice also that it is the flesh that is weak and it is the watching and praying that keeps them lined up with the spirit that they be one in spirit with Him. If they would do that then they would not enter into temptation.

It seems that these men, who knew that Jesus would be betrayed because He had told them earlier in the evening, were more concerned with their comfort, their sleep, than for their Lord. It is as if they had forsaken all of their love toward Jesus in lieu of caring for themselves. They fall fast asleep. On the other hand Jesus knew what was going to happen. He knew that He would go to His death to die to pay the penalty for their sin. Of course, these men were not aware of that yet. They would soon, but before the crucifixion of our Lord, they did not understand. As we see in Gethsemane, however, their flesh controlled them. All men and women, no matter how noble, when left to themselves, will quickly appear to be far less than nothing. All of our strength is weakness, and all our wisdom folly.    View article →