one of the an ext tragic, upsetting moment for plenty of in the bible is when Jesus, consumed through sadness and grief over his coming crucifixion, retreats through his closest friends come pray.

You are watching: The mind is willing but the flesh is weak

There in the Garden the Gethsemane, simply hours prior to His arrest, Jesus asks His closest friend to continue to be awake and also keep watch. Then, He drops to his knee in the dark night beneath the sanctuary of olive trees and also cries out to the Father.

“If that is possible, might this cup be taken native me. Yet not as i will, but as friend will,”Jesus prays in Matthew 26:39 (NIV).

Finding the disciples sound asleep upon His return, Jesus chastises His friends.

“‘Couldn’t you guys keep watch v me because that one hour?’ the asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so the you will not fall into temptation. The soul is willing, but the flesh is weak’” (Matthew 40-41).

Can’t you feel the dread? The need? remain awake v me, the Savior that the civilization has asked, and also yet castle cannot. In spite of pledging just hours before to pole by Him, come stand strong in the challenge of opposition, these males are, ~ all, simply men. They want to execute the right thing, however they cannot save their eye open.

What is Jesus yes, really saying in this passage? How deserve to the soul be willing however the flesh it is in weak, in Matthew 26:41?

What does Jesus mean by ‘The heart Is Willing yet the meat Is Weak’?

The Gospel that Matthew was created in Greek sometime between 50-70 A.D., v the audience gift Greek-speaking Jewish Christians. In the original text, Matthew uses the Greek indigenous sarx, which means flesh or body, and asthenēs, which means “not strong,” or weak, whether physically or morally. The Greek native sarx describes the sinful state of human beings, often presented together a strength in opposition come the Spirit.


Many scholars believe Jesus is not just talking about their ability to remain awake and keep watch v Him the night specifically. He is acknowledging that in other locations of our resides we additionally wish to obey Jesus and also follow His example, yet we room sinful, vastly imperfect humans by nature. We have the right to wish all we like, however we cannot possibly achieve all us desire. We cannot “work ours way” into heaven; no lot of great works will ever before be enough.

He’s perhaps also acknowledging the various other temptations lock would challenge as pendant of Christ. Together Jesus told them in Matthew 10:16a, “I am sending you out favor sheep among wolves,” and also in Matthew 10:22, “You will be hated through everyone because of me, yet the one that stands firm come the finish will it is in saved.”They would confront difficulties, persecution, arrest, and also hatred; occasionally they would certainly stand strong. Other times, together as when Peter refuse Him three times before the rooster crowed later on that very morning, they would certainly falter.

What do We Learn around Weakness and also Temptation from the practical worker in Gethsemane?

The disciples’ weak is a wonderful reminder of god’s grace. God knows each of us; that made us. He to know our strengths and our weaknesses. He designed united state to it is in in perfect relationship with Him.

Jesus asked castle to remain awake and also keep watch, however without him at their side, lock failed. Maybe His chastising not just serves as a rebuke but likewise a contact to action. If on our own, we know we will fail. We still should strive to walk in oh my gosh way, to be the best we can. Scholar often contact this the “sanctification process,” through which we grow and shot our very best to become like Jesus—knowing that together mere humans, we cannot reach this pinnacle, yet us try, nonetheless. He is urging castle to perform better.

Later in the garden, they keep trying—and keep failing. Jesus returns two much more times after prayer v the exact same rebuke: acquire up! Watch v me!


In spite of your failure the the flesh, castle try. And also in despite the of their ongoing failure, Jesus tho loves them—indeed, loves us all—enough to die in their place, sacrificing himself on the cross to pay our sin-debt and pave our path to eternal life with Him in Heaven.

As us learn, God loves us despite all this.

What can Christians do aboutOur Weak Flesh?

In enhancement to our striving to be our best and do our ideal in respect of our Savior, Jesus, there room some things we Christians deserve to do around our weak flesh.

One, we can follow Jesus’s instance when He faced temptation through the adversary in the desert. Every time the evil one tempted Him, Jesus countered the evil one with bible (Matthew 4). Understanding God’s indigenous intimately becomes a type of protection versus temptation that we deserve to use in time of difficulty.

Two, we have the right to do our finest to identify and also then eliminate what causes us come sin. Jesus speak the world in Matthew 18:8-9, “If her hand or her foot causes you come stumble, cut it off and throw the away. It is better for you to get in life maimed or crippled than to have actually two hands or two feet and also be thrown right into eternal fire. And also if her eye causes you to stumble, gouge the out and also throw it away. The is much better for girlfriend to get in life with one eye than to have actually two eyes and be thrown into the fire the hell.”

Three, we deserve to heed the apostle Paul’s indigenous in his letter to the at an early stage church in Rome. In Romans 7:4-6, Paul explains that before we came to be Christians, us “were in the kingdom of the flesh” and held captive through sin, yet now we are set free. He continues in Romans 8:2-3, noting that when we live in Christ Jesus “the legislation of the soul who provides life has collection you cost-free from the legislation of sin and death. Because that what the regulation was powerless to do since it to be weakened by the flesh, God go by sending out his own Son in the likeness the sinful flesh to it is in a sin offering.”

Indeed, Paul wrote, “You, however, room not in the realm of the flesh but are in the kingdom of the Spirit, if certainly the heart of God lives in you” (Romans 8:9a).

And even much more concretely, Paul added, “For if girlfriend live according to the flesh, you will die; however if by the spirit you put to fatality the misdeeds the the body, you will live. For those who space led by the heart of God are the children of God”(Romans 8:13-14).


He says all this to relief us: also though us were born of flesh, once we come to be believers, we space “born again” in Jesus by the power of the holy Spirit. We should push beside the flesh and its earthly demands and also heed the contact of the Spirit—only.

Other bibles that worship the soul over the Flesh

If you are looking for an ext on the Spirit’s triumph over the flesh, take it a watch at these passages:

Jeremiah 17:5: “This is what the mr says: “Cursed is the one that trusts in man, that draws strength from just flesh and also whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

John 6:63: “The Spirit offers life; the flesh counts because that nothing. The words i have talked to you—they are complete of the Spirit and also life.”

Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and also my heart might fail, yet God is the strength of mine heart and my portion forever.”

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Jessica Brodie is one award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction writers Genesis award for her novel, The storage Garden. She is likewise the editor the the south Carolina joined Methodist Advocate, the earliest newspaper in Methodism. Learn an ext about her fiction and also read her belief blog at jessicabrodie.com. She has actually a weekly YouTube devotional, too. Friend can additionally connect through her on Facebook, Twitter, and also more. She’s likewise produced a totally free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices once You’re emotion Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.

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This post is part of ours larger resource library that popular scriptures verse phrases and also quotes. We desire to administer easy come read short articles that answer her questions about the meaning, origin, and background of particular verses within Scripture"s context. That is our hope the these will assist you much better understand the definition and function of God"s native in relation to her life today.

"Be Still and also Know that ns Am God" "Pray without Ceasing" "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made""All Things work Together for Good" "Do no Fear"