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Their Eyes Were Heavy

Mark 14:40 (ESV) – And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him.

Imagine being one of the few chosen disciples Jesus asked to stay with Him while He prayed in the garden. This is the night of His arrest and eve of His crucifixion. The climax of human history and God’s redemptive plan in the world is unfolding in Jerusalem. God in the flesh has invited you to join Him in prayer because He’s so burdened and sorrowful about the hour looming for His death on the cross.

But you can’t stay awake.

Think about how crazy that is! But this is exactly what we find happening in the Gospels as the final hours of Jesus’ life unfold. Mark’s Gospel tells us that “he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him.” Their eyes were heavy. They couldn’t stay awake for even an hour with Jesus. Jesus rebuked them for their inability. He also tells them that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

That weakness of flesh is something we need to recognize in ourselves. It is easy for us to read that their eyes were heavy and think we’d never do such a thing. But more than likely we would have been snoozing right beside them. Our bodies are weak. Our willpower is weak. We are weak creatures even on our best days. The inability of the disciples to stay awake in the garden is a perfect picture of this condition all people experience.

As a believer today, recognize you struggle with the same thing. Our battle may be with food, lust, pride, greed, self-reliance, or any other number of sins. We could be resolved to overcome these things in our spirits, but we need to admit our flesh is weak. This confession and acknowledgement prepares us to seek God’s help. We need the power of the Holy Spirit and the help of Christ to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. Ask Him today to supply you with strength, and confess before Him your weakness.

Reflection & Journal:

- What are some examples of this weakness of flesh in your own life? 

- Why do you think the disciples couldn’t stay awake in the garden? What lessons can that teach us?

- How can we live in such a way that offsets our weaknesses and helps us to live faithfully?