How can you explain this verse: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”?


Matthew 26:41

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

Clarify Share Report Asked July 23 2022 Mini Pamela C

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Img 5726 Leslie Coutinho
Aren’t we always in all points tempted to sin (Heb 4:15) as Jesus himself hath suffered being tempted (Heb 2:18)? He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and then was tested by the devil. (Luke 4:2) Knowing that He was the Lamb to be sacrificed for mankind (Isaiah 53:7), He still asked the Father to take away this suffering from Him. (Mat 26:39/42) Jesus knew the hour had come and Judas was on his way with the elders to betray Him. He had in His presence the chosen ones, of whom He took Peter, James and John, and He asked them to watch with him and pray (Mat 26:41) because He didn’t want the consequences of something unpleasant to happen to them when they faced the betrayal of Judas. 

In the spirit they were willing to do whatever Jesus said, for they had left everything of their livelihood and were following Jesus as he had told them, “From henceforth, thou shalt catch men,” (Luke 5:10) in their walk with Him. They saw all the mighty works in humility that Jesus did, and that He always would go to the mountain top to pray. They followed Him, yet when time came Peter, being weak in the flesh, lifted his sword and cut off the ear of a man. (Mat 26:51) Peter denied Jesus three times (Mat 26:75), and James and John, along with the other disciples, forsook Him and fled. (Mat 26:56) This was a clear indication of what Jesus had said to them: “For the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

For every child of God who serves Him in the right spirit, it is the Father which leads us to His Son through His Spirit when we pray, and also to be humble in all our ways. For when times comes as we watch and pray, he leads us out of our temptations from doing things in the flesh.

July 25 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Jesus said these words to Peter, who, along with James and James' brother John (the sons of Zebedee), were the three apostles who were closest to Jesus, and whom Jesus had taken as a group with Him to keep watch as He went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane immediately prior to His impending arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

Because of the lateness of the nighttime hour, those three apostles, despite their devotion to Jesus, had fallen asleep while He was praying. (Unlike Jesus, they did not have full knowledge of what was about to happen to Him.)

The temptation that Jesus was telling them that they should be praying to avoid was that of totally forsaking or abandoning Him in reaction to the forces that would shortly be coming to arrest Him, and of fear on the apostles' part that they, too, would be subject to arrest and trial.

In saying that their spirits were willing, but their flesh was weak, Jesus was acknowledging their devotion to Him, but also pointing out the fatigue and inherent weakness of their fleshly, human condition that would soon cause them to at least temporarily flee from Him.

July 23 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jason Anderson
The short and quick "elevator speech" answer - highly simplified, and brought into more detail in other answers, I am sure.

By the curse brought upon us by the fall of Adam - we now focus on our physical self, over our soul (mind, will, emotion) and our spirit. We use our 5 physical senses and want to please them over our other 2 selves. (We are a triune being in a way, in God's likeness). Satan knows this and is always trying to always tempt you.

You can overcome this as the verse you provided stated - keep your focus on God.

Keep your heart on Him, on how much He loves you. It's harder to intentionally harm someone you love.

December 23 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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