As recorded in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus told his disciples to: “Watch and Pray, lest you enter into Temptation.”
Just what is “watching?” What does this mean?
The context tells us that while Jesus was agonizing over his upcoming Passion in the Garden of Gethsemane, he went to solicit his disciples to “watch” with him, as Jesus was greatly distressed.
Instead, they had gone asleep…
What? These were twelve men, practically hand-picked by Jesus. Six of them, were his very first cousins. Yet, they could not “watch” in prayer with Jesus for even an hour.
Moreover, does it mean to “…enter into temptation”?
Were the disciples of Christ about to commit egregious sins? Were they idolaters? Were they going to engage in some uncleanness, or participate in a conspiracy of evil?
Their faith was about to be tested.
The Jesus that the disciples knew to be nearly all powerful, never to be wrong, never act presumptuously but always with Grace, was about to be exposed as powerless, practically helpless, suffer greatly in silence, and to die about as ignominiously and in shame and humiliation, as a human could.
One of these disciples, Peter, would even deny that he knew Jesus.
Peter didn’t just deny once, nor twice, …but three… times.
Three acts of cowardice: that would hard to duplicate even more than once, yet when done three times is a bit unbelievable when considering the confession of Peter earlier, when he alone, declared Jesus to be very Son of God…
Herein is the irony of the human frame… Peter alone knew exactly who Jesus was. He was given this revelation of faith. Even Jesus said, that flesh and blood had not revealed this truth to Peter, but the Spirit of God from the Heavenly Father…
Jesus suffered terribly when God’s grace was withdrawn from him in the Garden of Gethsemane. The anxiety of facing the burden of ALL the Sins of the World was such that Jesus contracted a rare condition in which his facial capillaries burst and mixed in his forehead sweat, thus becoming what is known as a “bloody sweat.” Jesus nearly faltered at this specter, as he asked that this “cup pass from me” three separate times.
Yet Peter, would turn away from identifying with Jesus with great fear and trepidation…which had now supplanted such a revelation of faith…
Jesus had predicted this. He told Peter that Satan desired to “sift him as wheat” beforehand (Luke 22:31). Indeed later, after the Resurrection, Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved him enough to feed his lambs, feed his sheep…feed his sheep,…the very same number of times that Peter had denied him. Peter knew full well this analogy and became grieved that Jesus stressed this to him.
We see then, that Peter’s temptation was not some work of the flesh or moral failure…but faith failure.
You see, it was easy to believe on Jesus when the crowds thronged him. It was easy to believe on Jesus when he made bread and fish to multiply, as well as wine. It was fairly easy to believe on Jesus when he spoke with such inspiration, wisdom, and a powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit. It was easy to believe when seen: the healings, the miracles, and resurrection of life from death of individuals, when following in the footsteps of Christ. It wasn’t too hard to stand with Jesus when he was challenged by the Scribes, Pharisees, the Temple Spies, Herod’s emissaries, and the Sadducean power of the Sanhedrin demanding evidence of Christ’s credentials. You felt nearly invincible, as a disciple, when Jesus challenged King Herod, by calling him, “a fox,” nearly surrounded yet by Herod’s spies.
No, it was wasn’t all that hard when Jesus traveled with an entourage of about a hundred followers most everywhere that he went, and people heralded him with palm fronds.
But when Jesus was ALL by himself, faced with the Power of the State to destroy him, well, they scattered,… just as the Bible and Jesus had prophesied of.
They lost their faith….
You know why, don’t you?
Well, first of all, they were not …”watching and praying…” as they were asked to do.
Instead, they were slumbering… sleeping…
This implies that not only were they in the physical state of sleep, but that also, that the disciples were in a spiritual state of “slumber.”
This is evident.
They could not pray for even an hour…as well,…
They got distracted.
Well, they had drunk too much wine. They had also eaten a lot.
And, it was…, was, late at night.
But they were not very disciplined in prayer. They were not even too sure how to pray, as they had asked Jesus previously to show them.
Jesus did not show them quite exactly, as prayer is supposed to be spontaneous…but Jesus did give them a model. We call it the Lord’s Prayer today. However, if you recite this, as a litany, it is not AT ALL, the prayer that Jesus taught and stressed…Prayer is not fixed regimentation, it is a spontaneous reflection of the heart.
Apparently though, the disciples had forgotten that.
You see… prayer can be work.
It is a discipline.
It requires time to gain fruition and traction. It requires a bit of effort.
It requires a commitment without immediate gratification, or reward.
You can get fought terribly in making an effort to pray.
The Devil sure doesn’t like you to pray.
Indeed, if you were not sure that there is a Devil, or Satan, or a great spiritual adversary who is the god of this world,… then you should definitely start a discipline of prayer…
…as when you do… you will certainly encounter his power…and eventually, his person.
Yep, the Devil has power. He can do …STUFF!…
You will never have so many crazy, weird, distracting, doubting, fatiguing thoughts as when you first start the discipline of prayer.
That is part of his STUFF. The Devil has quite the bag of tricks and uses them well. Going into the tunnel is pretty dark, but coming out of the tunnel, well, there is plenty of light.
You have to then, persevere… in prayer… You will end up then, in another kind of realm.
This realm of prayer is more real than any realm you think you may have experienced.
When you do, get past being “earth-bound,” as after all, that is where the Devil lives… well, prayer is not so much work anymore…
It is a great comfort.
I am not saying this alone, or of myself. This is not a “selfie” testimony. I have read a lot about the exploits of faith in the stories and records of other Christian believers. Many other Christian witnesses and saints have said the exact same thing as I just have. It is very humbling to know when you have shared the same experiences as God’s People in every age.
It is a great delight to have a direct rapport with the God of this Universe, whose name is YHWH.
It is a great delight to pray in the authority of Jesus Christ.
It is a great comfort to have prayer answered.
Disparately, I have found that in own own experience in fellowshiping other Christians, that most professing Christians do not pray… hardly, at all. Most professing Christians do not know at all, how to pray…
The most uniform quality of professed Christians remarkably, that I have observed, is their solicitation of others… TO PRAY FOR THEM!
HUH! Why are these folks such beggars? Why don’t they pray for themselves?
Why? Because they are amazingly lazy, and show too little diligence for accounting for their common salvation!
This is almost a distressing development.
You would think that with all this “profession” of faith by “millions,” that someone would know how to pray, and take the time to pray, as Jesus taught…
..but they DON’T…
I would venture to say that over 99.44% of Christians that I have met, the Ivory Soap equation, have no “prayer life…” I am not sure that I am wrong on the Ivory Soap equation speculation. I have to think and recall really hard, those that I have encountered, to get past that .56% level.
The deal is, about the great masses of professed Christians is…
…They don’t pray.
…They don’t learn how.
…They don’t make any effort… They are very lazy… They are not diligent at all.
And, for making these observations public, I am denigrated and persecuted, and am told that I am critical.
Frankly, in my own spiritual experience, verily, verily, I am not sure how anyone can be truly saved, or in a state of grace…without the practice and discipline of prayer. The more that I have studied this, the more perplexed I have become, to accept a good deal of present Christian testimony. I just don’t believe a whole lot of it. It has to be sham. There are no real works to go with such claims.
You know,.. prayer is not that exciting… you have to do it privately, alone, and without ANY demonstration, as Jesus taught. You cannot “show off” much in prayer. No one is watching! Prayer is not like “soul-winning”…oh, soul-winning, where you can be the CENTER of attention in being a presumed spiritual powerhouse and Man of God Preacher, by influencing, controlling, and manipulating others…!!!
Yet, without the prerequisite of the discipline of prayer, all such efforts of “soul winning” and “evangelizing” is but...manipulation and control of others…which result ultimately in failure. First, your victims, and then,… you.
You will never see a truly successful Evangelist without intercessory prayer. You will never find a successful Evangelistic Work without a Prayer Warrior accompanying the Preacher.
There have been several examples of this, throughout church annals.
Charles Finney was a most powerful evangelist, but he was dependent upon Brother Nash to pray down the revival.
My father was a most gifted preacher, but it was prayer by his brother Herbert, who held up his arms proverbially, like Aaron and Hur held up Moses.
Manipulating and controlling folks…into emotional false conversions,..well, that is not the Gospel. A real Gospel transforms people… not manipulates them…
Just how much then, do you see, or hear, a real Gospel nowadays?
Yep, in the great mass of “professing” Christianity, no one prays…knows how to pray… and receives no answers to prayer.
In other words, just like the disciples near Gethsemane, they cannot “watch” for an hour…
They cannot “pray.” They are in a state of spiritual slumber. They are sleeping spiritually.
You see, the Devil sees no threat from such Christian professors…as they are all earth-bound, laying around on the ground… sleeping. When the Devil gets upset, is when someone is not “earth-bound” and is touching the Throne of Grace with real contact…ABOVE. The Devil can’t control that. He gets kind of wroth.
The kind of temptation that the Devil had for the disciples, well, is not effectual for these “prayer-realm” folks.
For, when you are in a state of slumber and spiritual lethargy, your faith can be challenged, and it will…. FAIL….just as the disciples…
If you are in the “prayer-realm,” then the Devil has to work differently. He usually works on circumstances around you.
He tries to send other kinds of trials…if they work…
The Devil will try to destroy your faith. The faith of the disciples at Gethsemane was nearly destroyed.
Well, as I wrote just above, their faith was based on numbers, miracles, loaves and fishes. This was all intoxicating on an emotional level.
You see, there was a certain amount of DECEPTION involved in their faith.
When all was going well, with Judas holding the money bag, and Peter and John being favored witnesses, and the crowds thronging, singing praises and reacting with wonder, with prestigious individuals and rulers asking for private audiences with Jesus, you just had to believe that… Jesus was going to set up a TEMPORAL Kingdom just right there and then, and get rid of those detested Romans….
Well, that just wasn’t true.
The disciples were setting themselves up for… temptation…
That temptation is…. called…
…DECEPTION… can cause quite a bit of faith failure…
When you “watch and pray” though, deception has a lot of work to do to get past such scrutiny. It doesn’t happen.
Just a bit later, the disciples were able to regain their faith… when they quit believing what they wanted to, and believed instead, what Jesus had told them to….
The same is going on today. A lot of folks believe what they want to… rather, than what Jesus said to do.
With that said, that there has never been quite so much the temptation of DECEPTION as there is, …today…
The Enemy has been working over-time in making DECEPTION quite sophisticated.
There are a lot of intelligent, smart folks in our world today.
But they are DECEIVED.
It is isn’t intelligence then, that can spare you from being deceived.
We have lots of educated folks in the world. They go to universities, colleges, seminaries, and institutes. They have Bachelor’s, post-graduate, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees, as measures of esteemed learning and proficiency in intelligence.
Yet, they are ALL in deception. They are all being SNOWED, so to speak, by the Devil.
Is this really possible?
It sure is.
When Jesus faced “temptation” in the Wilderness, or Desert, during his 40-day fast, the Bible states that the Devil came to him with several temptations. In this weakened state without food, the Devil first tried to “deceive” Christ by using his “power” to make “bread out of stones.” Finally, the Devil offered the Temptation of Power, Control of Kingdoms, and utmost Riches, by which Jesus would be led into deception. Jesus answered all these deceptions by the Word of God, or truth.
People are deceived, no matter what their education, because they are not tuned in to what is… “truth.” A good deal of truth, especially spiritual truth, has to be known through a revelation of faith. Since faith is illogical to the natural intelligence and mind, our smarter friends reject this qualification of faith. They then claim that such illogical faith is for simpletons.
Well, wisdom is justified of her children. All these smart folks are neglecting their spiritual needs, and will find themselves destroyed by the condition of unbelief. They will be unprepared for any future life, as they are not developing any qualities, or virtues, to live in the next life.
Faith, for all of its belittled simplicity by those too sophisticated to consider it, yet is paradoxically known, as a virtue. It is one virtue that, in this life, you cannot be without, and expect to live in the next life….
Just how, smart is it then, to ignore such a virtue?
Knowing and obeying the truth is not about the accumulation of knowledge contained in the world as taught by the institutions of the world.
Knowing and obeying God is based on a transformation of faith that believes what is true.
The disciples got shaken in their faith. They had been genuinely believing the wrong things about Christ’s ministry. They regained their faith somewhat, when Christ told them what the right things to believe were.
Yet, some of them still wanted their erroneous belief system, or part of it, to be YET true… Even after the Resurrection, the disciples asked the Resurrected Jesus,…
“Lord, will you, at this time, restore again the Kingdom to Israel?”
You see, deception can be very powerful.
The Devil knows how to use such deception.
Again today, there is an incredible amount of deception.
The Bible has predicted this.
You have so many Gospels NOW, well, it is just amazing. Each church promotes its own practically. You know it is another Gospel, as it lacks power to transform lives. It is another Gospel, like the one that nearly sank the Galatian Church, as instead of transforming people, it manipulates them into doing things which have nothing to do with faith, but rather so many actions or works based on rules and legalism. Presently, no professing Christian church is growing… they are all shrinking.
Now, to be fair, many churches didn’t start out this way. They were formed or organized… out of revival… but these revivals, well, many of them are now hundreds of years old.
They haven’t been updated. They are way behind. They are obsolete. They are not relevant.
God is not illuminating anyone anymore like Martin Luther, who received the revelation of truth in comparison with the teaching of Rome, that the “just shall live by faith.”
It takes a more present revelation now… and the churches don’t have it.
That is exactly what Jesus told the Devil, that man has to live by “every word ‘proceeding’ out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4b).
This tense of “proceeding,” is PRESENT TENSE….NOT PAST TENSE… If your faith is not in the present, then the past cannot help you.
This means something is seriously wrong then with the churches, as there is no Spiritual Law of Increase among them.
Among other religions and belief systems, you cannot keep track of them. Pagan beliefs and practices, among them Wicca, Witchcraft, Luciferianism, and Satanism, have been growing leaps and bounds since 1967.
Secular beliefs are growing as well, many of them, offshoots of a pantheistic world view. The political Progressive Liberalism, or Marxist Globalism promoted by the Elite, is but a Luciferian world view. Many people think that Communism is a godless ideology… this is a superficial application. Karl Marx was really a Satanist. His handlers were Satanists and Luciferians. His own quotations below confirm this:
“I wish to avenge myself against the One who rules above …”
“The idea of God is the keynote of a perverted civilization. It must be destroyed.”
As well, Vladimir Lenin, was described as a Satanist as well, by the German language Magazine for New Consciousness. Lenin was part of a Satanic cult in Ascona, Switzerland, where he was renowned for his spiritual, demonic ecstatic dances in their rituals.
This is part of the deception, which utilizes misinformation and disinformation. You can get the gist of this, with the Globalist Media decrying the phenomenon of “fake news” which exposes their true agendas.
Yep. The age of Deception is directly linked to that of Temptation… believing the wrong things as to have one’s faith rendered useless.
The only cure for that… is to…
WATCH and PRAY.
Then, the deception will wane.
Thanks for reading.
Copyrighted. Joseph Spickard, 2017. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this intellectual property without prior permission from the author is prohibited.