The Scriptorium

Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh

We're all a bit like Peter. Matthew 26.31-35

Matthew 26: Arrested (4)

Pray Psalm 55.1-3.
Give ear to my prayer, O God,
And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
Attend to me, and hear me;
I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily,
Because of the voice of the enemy,
Because of the oppression of the wicked;
For they bring down trouble upon me,
And in wrath they hate me.

Sing Psalm 55.1-3.
(Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Hear now my prayer, O Lord, hide not from me.
Answer me by Your Word and set me free!
Wicked men sore oppress; restless am I.
Lord, ease my soul’s distress and hear my cry!

Read Matthew 26.1-35; meditate on verses 31-35.

1. What did Jesus say about the disciples?

2. How did Jesus counter Peter’s objection?

We might wonder what Peter’s problem was. When Jesus said something he didn’t agree with, he rebuked Him, and contradicted His Word, which invariably left Peter embarrassed (cf. Matt. 16.21-23).But aren’t we just like Peter in many ways? Jesus says, “As you are going, make disciples.” We say, “That’s the pastor’s job.” Jesus says, “You shall be My witnesses.” We say, “Nobody wants to hear it.” Jesus says, “Take up your cross.” We say, “Right after I get back from the golf course, Lord.” Jesus says, “Men ought always to pray.” We say, “Prayer doesn’t work for me.”

We’re just like Peter, so let’s not be too hard on him here. We can diagnose Peter’s problem. He didn’t want His Lord to suffer. He felt like he could do something to prevent that. In his spirit, he really, really wanted to keep Jesus from suffering. But, as we shall see, when push came to shove, and a little girl challenged him as being a follower of Jesus, Peter caved. His flesh was weaker than his spirit

.But when Peter received the Holy Spirit of God, then he became the man he and Jesus wanted him to be. We have the Spirit, so whatever Jesus commands us, we can understand. And whatever He calls us to do, His Spirit makes us willing and able to the task (Phil. 2.13).

Peter would deny Jesus because he was relying on his spirit and his strength. We can follow and obey Jesus when, as Peter would come to know, we rely on His Spirit and His strength for whatever He calls us to do.

1. Why did all the disciples desert Jesus? What should we learn from this?

2. What does it mean to draw on the Spirit and strength of God for our daily lives?

3. How can believers help and encourage one another to be faithful in their walk with and work for the Lord?

It was not only out of carelessness but almost also out of wickedness that he said, “Even if all fall away because of you, I will not fall away.” He made a rash promise because he did not know the deceitfulness of human nature. This is why Peter didn’t simply fall away from Jesus or even deny him once but abandoned him so completely that he denied him three times. Origen (185-254), Commentary on Matthew 88

Fill me with Your Spirit, Lord, and grant me Your strength for this day, so that I…

Pray Psalm 55.9-15.
If Peter could betray the Lord, so can we. Pray that the Lord will give you strength to serve Him faithfully today.Sing Psalm 55.9-19.

Psalm 55.9-19 (Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Let judgment fall, O Lord, let violence cease;
daily they mock Your Word while sins increase.
You were for us betrayed; You bore our grief.
By You was judgment stayed for our relief.

Lord, I will call on You, answer and save!
Morning and evening too, my voice I raise.
Grant me Your peace, O Lord; answer my foes!
All who reject God’s Word He overthrows.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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