Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. ~Mark 14:38
March is the time for college basketball’s March Madness. The best teams in college basketball compete to determine which team is the best. We see these teams play at peak performance. We see incredible teamwork. We see winners and losers. We see teams execute the fundamentals of successful play, such as a full-court press. A full-court press is when the defending team applies very close defensive contact with the opposing team. A full-court press places the team on the offensive at its extreme. Will they get the ball into their side of the court and make a basket, or will they forfeit the ball? Our devotion this morning takes us to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a moment of intensity for the Lord Jesus Christ as His crucifixion was hours away. We want to see how Jesus responded to the “full-court press” at His hour of suffering.
There is, first, the reality.
Jesus was hours away from what He came to earth to do. He was feeling the pressure of the pain, suffering, and grief that He would endure. He counted down the days in which the divine plan would be fulfilled. He was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief...." Going to the cross was His mission. The full-court press of dying on the cross was heavy upon Him.
There is, second, the request.
Jesus prayed and asked the Father to take away the cup of suffering. When the pressures are great, we pray to God. We ask Him for relief and to take away the suffering. We ask God to take it away! None of us like being in a pressure cooker situation. It is lonely when you are going through a pressure cooker in your life. There are sleepless nights, loss of appetite, and a sense of loss. Jesus knew what He would have to go through for us, and nothing could interfere with the plan. He prayed so earnestly that His sweat was like great drops of blood from His forehead.
There is, third, the remorse.
When He returned to the place where He left His disciples, He sadly found them sleeping. Can you imagine sleeping when Jesus needed you to be awake and praying? He was grieved that they were unmoved at what He was going through. It was as though they did not catch His heart. Are you sleeping when the Lord wants you awakened to righteousness? Have you allowed the full-court press to defeat you?
There is, last, a reminder.
He admonished them, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” Watch, and pray! Remain sober and watchful. Don’t take your eyes off of the enemy. Be careful against temptations. And then, pray! Pray because you need the Lord. Pray so that you do not enter into temptation. Pray that your faith be not shaken.
Our walk of faith is challenged every day by the full-court press of our spiritual adversaries. Stay alert, pray, and cling to the Savior!
Have a victorious God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Joshua 9-11