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  • Writer's pictureKendall Ellis

Passion Despite Weakness

This is a preview for the fifth sermon in the series “Passion: When God’s Love Meets Our Betrayal”  To watch the recording of any of the sermons in this sermon series, visit our website.


Then [Jesus] returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

-Mark 14:32-42


When I played soccer in high school, I wanted to like running for the sake of the game and my teammates. But my lungs were of the opinion that exercise was a form of torture and should be illegal. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.


Desire to moderation but Lay’s chips won the bet and you couldn’t have just one? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.


Meant to keep your calm but your firecracker disposition exploded on your family? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.


We could fill a hundred blogs with example after example of our contradictory experiences. We aren’t evil. We’re just human, like Peter, James, and John. We’re just too weak to follow through with things God asks. 


Weakness is perhaps an odd way to betray someone because, in some ways, it’s not even our fault that we’re weak humans.

What did Jesus actually expect from his friends in the Garden of Gethsemane? I mean, Jesus is a smart dude. Did Jesus actually think that his weak disciples would be able to stay up to pray with him after the exhausting day of Passover festivities and emotional conversations had hit them so hard? 


I suspect Jesus wasn’t surprised that Peter, James, and John fell asleep on him. But just because you expect a particular outcome doesn’t necessarily take away the sting. Ask anyone who gave a new restaurant a second chance only to get sick a second time. Very disappointing. 


Though his friends betrayed him and left him alone in his final moments of freedom, Jesus was the opposite of his disciples. A foil character of sorts, for all you literature buffs out there. Jesus desired something different than what the Father asked of him, but he was strong enough to press on faithfully, even to death on a cross.


What a friend we have in Jesus, indeed.



Reflection Questions

  1. Reflect on the Bible: Why do you think the disciples sleeping in the garden might have felt like a betrayal to Jesus?


  1. Reflect on your life and faith: What is something that God has asked of you recently? Did you desire to do that thing? What weakness made following-through with that task difficult?

  2. Reflect on God's grace: Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 9-11: “[God’s] grace is sufficient for you, for [God’s] power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” How can you use Paul’s perspective to inspire how you pray as you prepare to live faithfully to whatever God is calling you to do this week?

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