We read in the Gospels, such as in Matthew 26:40-42, that after their Passover Seder together, which is called the Last Supper, Yeshua asked some of his Talmudim to stay awake and pray with him in the garden, but each time they kept falling asleep.
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Yeshua commented that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, meaning that although they wanted to, they weren’t as strong as their desire to obey him and so they fell asleep.
I am the last person on earth to want to argue with Yeshua, but in this case, I have to say I disagree with him: the flesh isn’t weak, it is strong.
The “flesh” is our humanity, our iniquity (the innate desire to sin), and our egocentric personality. Egocentric doesn’t mean we think we are better than anyone else, it means we see ourselves as the center of the universe, not caring that much for anyone else but concentrating only our our own needs and feelings.
For example, I know some people who seem to be so nice, offering their help and offering to give things to others but after a while, I can see that they are doing this not from a legitimate desire to be of service but to generate compliments for themselves and to hear people tell them how wonderful they are. The conversations they are involved in always seem to come around back to them, what they have done, what they know, etc. This doesn’t make them “bad” people, just egocentric.
In all fairness to the Disciples who were in the garden with Yeshua, they just finished a large meal with a lot of wine. Anyone who has been to a Seder knows there are 4 glasses of wine each person drinks during the meal; not only that but between reading the Hagaddah and eating in the middle of the narrative, these meals can take a few hours. So, naturally, full of lamb and wine, staying awake while sitting in a dark garden would be a real challenge to anyone.
With their flesh just dying to sleep, even though their spirit desired to pray along with Yeshua, their flesh was stronger.
If the flesh was truly weak, then we would be able to overcome it, wouldn’t we? Sin would be an easy thing to control and do away with, yet the facts of life show us, conclusively, that this is NOT the case. The flesh, the Yetzer Hara (evil inclination), the desire to do that which is pleasurable and easy is obviously stronger; otherwise, we wouldn’t really need the Messiah, would we? No, if the flesh was weak, we would be able to overcome our sinful desires and allow the Ruach (spirit) to control what we do and say.
But, as I have already pointed out, that isn’t how it is in real life. Why do you think Yeshua says the road less travelled and the narrow gate is the pathway to salvation?
So, all I am saying is it seems to me that the flesh is not really weak, but strong enough that we find great difficulty in overcoming it.
Again, far be it for me to argue with the Messiah, but in this case, I would change that statement in Matthew to read “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is strong and difficult for people to overcome.” Then I might follow that up with a statement Yeshua made earlier to his Talmudim (Matthew 19:26), where he says: “…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
So if you want your spirit to be stronger than your flesh, you need to strengthen it with spiritual exercise. The way to do that is to pray, read the Bible, and obey the instructions God gave us in the Torah, which is the ONLY place where God tells us how he wants us to act.
And like any good exercise program, you must do this on a regular basis.
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That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!