Three disciples, Peter, James and John accompanied Jesus to the point where he was going to pray. He was greatly distressed and troubled and I am quite sure these disciples would have noticed this unusual and never before state that Jesus was in. He even said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” and he went further away to pray alone. I find it hard to accept that this simple request to remain there and watch could not be followed by the three, perhaps the closest or most obedient of all the disciples.
When Jesus came back from praying for about an hour, he found the three of them sleeping and questioned, “Could you not watch one hour?” He repeated the same request for them to watch and went to pray again but in all three times, he found them asleep when he returned. Yes, it was stated that their eyes were very heavy but he warned them to “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Later, when Jesus was betrayed and brought to the high priest, Peter who was loitering near the vicinity, was pointed out by a servant girl saying that he was with the company of Jesus and Peter denied knowing Jesus and this happened three times. On an earlier occasion, Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times by the time the rooster crowed twice and the rooster did crow twice by the third denial and thereafter, Peter broke down and cried.
I was taken aback by how it took three times before one would realise something was wrong or that you have made the mistake. Reflecting on the `human’ condition (the flesh), it is so easy to succumb to the weakness of the body instead of leaning on the strength that comes from the spirit. If this was not possible to overcome, Jesus would not have said to the three disciples “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Now I ask myself these questions:
Would I need to make a mistake before I learn or obey?
How can I avoid a repeated scenario before I realise my wilful ways?
Mark 14:27-31 Peter’s denial was predicted
Mark 14:32-42 Three disciples fell asleep three times
Mark 14:66-72 Peter’s denied knowing Jesus three times