One Minute Wednesday classics takes a look at three conversations Jesus has in his last hours before the crucifixion..
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” – Matthew 26:41
This well-known statement is actually only half the verse and a third of Jesus response to Peter in the garden. It was in reference to Jesus asking for Peter and the disciples to be in prayer with him as he talked to the Father. In the key moment of his life, his most ardent followers fell asleep.
Jesus knows Peter’s failure to stand by him will only get worse. Peter responds to this by mustering up some fresh determination, and cutting off a guy’s ear in hopes of battling it out to save Jesus. He then runs away and eventually denies Jesus worth swearing and cursing, and fulfilling another classic verse of denying Jesus three times before the rooster crows – verse 34. This is not a good evening for Jesus’ most vocal disciple. Peter’s life is a train wreck at this moment, running off the rails. But Jesus does not cast Peter aside. He draws him back in and uses him greatly. Check out John 21 and Acts 2.
Jesus captures in a few short words what all of us have experienced. Our desires to do the right thing are there, but we don’t seem to have the will power to follow through on good intentions. It may be how we treat our kids or spouse or best friends, or how we respond at work, taking care of our finances, or our physical bodies, or…you get the point. Our personal lists of #discipleshipfail are long ones.
We are all frail, and we need to be connected to the power of God. Spending time with Jesus, in His word and prayer are necessary to follow through with good intentions. Even then, we will still fail, relying on our own strength. But failure in a moment does not need to be what defines us for a lifetime.
Can you take your greatest discipleship failure to Jesus today, and experience His forgiveness? Yes, it’s possible. That is why he died, to forgive that, and every other failure in our lives. Accept his forgiveness today. Be defined by Easter, not your failure.