Watch and pray so that you do not enter into temptation

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Stephen L Smith

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I have been doing a meditation on Peter's denial of our Lord and how he did not heed the Lord's advice to 'watch and pray'. This story is told in all four gospels.

Matt 26:31-46; 69-75
Our Lord warns of the disciples falling away. Self confident Peter says he will not fall away. Our Lord assures Peter he will indeed fall away.

Our Lord gives these challenging words in v41 "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". We are reminded that the Christian life is a spiritual warfare (Eph 6).

Verses 69-75 record Peter's tragic denial of our Lord and that he was not as strong as he thought he was. The problem was that he had not watched and prayed. The Reformation Study Bible says of these verses "It is a testimony to both human weakness and the greatness of God's mercy, for Jesus uses and restores Peter despite his shameful failure.

Mark 14:26-42;66-72
In v 37 our Lord adds an interesting insight "Peter could you not watch with me one hour?" If only Peter knew what the nature of the spiritual warfare was.

V72 tells us Peter broke down and wept after the rooster crowed three times. The Reformation Heritage Study Bible says "The form of the greek verb indicates prolonged weeping, a sign that Christ's grace was winning Peter back in repentance".

Luke 22:31-34; 39-46; 54-62
Luke's gospel goes somewhat deeper into the nature of the spiritual warfare. V31 tells us that Satan desired to 'sift Peter like wheat'. Satan desired to destroy the work of Christ and his disciples. But he is limited by God's sovereign power.

Our Lord prayed that Peter's faith would not fail, and that when he returned in repentance, our Lord wanted him to strengthen his brethren. Peter did this especially in his two epistles.

Peter assured our Lord he was ready to die rather than deny his Lord. If only he knew the weak state of his heart.

In v45, after our Lord prayed in anguish, he found the disciples sleeping. The verse says they were exhausted from their grief. The Reformation Heritage Study Bible says "Luke uses a medical word here that indicates more than medical exhaustion, implying intense pain, anguish, or sorrow." Our Lord tells them to get up and pray so that they will not fall into temptation. This is a challenge and encouragement to the Christian. When one is physically or mentally exhausted, one needs to pray all the more; if one does not do this the devil will exploit any weakness.

John 21:15-17
John 18 records Peter's denial. John 21 is important because it records Peter's restoration.

Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. This strikes at Peter's heart because Peter denied our Lord three times. Peter is restored and is told to feed Christ's lambs, and shepherd his sheep. This brings to mind our Lord's command in Luke's gospel to strengthen the brethren after Peter has repented and being restored.

May we all take the challenge to meditate on the Word, watch and pray. As Paul says in 2 Cor 2, we are not ignorant of Satan's devices.
 
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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Excellent thoughts, Brother. Amen.

And if I may, I will recommend one of the best books on this subject, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices by Thomas Brooks. This book lends itself to devotional reading. Though you certainly may, this book does not need to be read straight through. It is a survival manual for the Soldier of the Cross. Instead of reading it once through, you will come back to it again and again.

Precious Remedies.jpg
 

smalltown_puritan

Puritan Board Freshman
Excellent thoughts, Brother. Amen.

And if I may, I will recommend one of the best books on this subject, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices by Thomas Brooks. This book lends itself to devotional reading. Though you certainly may, this book does not need to be read straight through. It is a survival manual for the Soldier of the Cross. Instead of reading it once through, you will come back to it again and again.
If I may add to this recommendation, Banner of Truth also has John Owen's Temptation: Resisted and Repulsed as a Puritan Paperback, which is an exposition on Matthew 26:41. It is an excellent and accessible treatise on the nature of and overcoming temptation - and like any other book, is probably most enjoyable and useful when discussed with other saints!
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member

Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Sophomore
Excellent thoughts, Brother. Amen.

And if I may, I will recommend one of the best books on this subject, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices by Thomas Brooks. This book lends itself to devotional reading. Though you certainly may, this book does not need to be read straight through. It is a survival manual for the Soldier of the Cross. Instead of reading it once through, you will come back to it again and again.

View attachment 7495
Bless you for reminding me of this book! It is one of the first Puritan books I was greatly blessed by and have now picked it up again.


“Remember, it is not hasty reading—but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee's touching of the flower, which gathers honey—but her abiding for a time upon the flower, which draws out the sweet. It is not he who reads most—but he who meditates most, who will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian.”

Excerpt From
Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices
Thomas Brooks
This material may be protected by copyright.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
I have been doing a meditation on Peter's denial of our Lord and how he did not heed the Lord's advice to 'watch and pray'. This story is told in all four gospels.

Matt 26:31-46; 69-75
Our Lord warns of the disciples falling away. Self confident Peter says he will not fall away. Our Lord assures Peter he will indeed fall away.

Our Lord gives these challenging words in v41 "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". We are reminded that the Christian life is a spiritual warfare (Eph 6).

Verses 69-75 record Peter's tragic denial of our Lord and that he was not as strong as he thought he was. The problem was that he had not watched and prayed. The Reformation Study Bible says of these verses "It is a testimony to both human weakness and the greatness of God's mercy, for Jesus uses and restores Peter despite his shameful failure.

Mark 14:26-42;66-72
In v 37 our Lord adds an interesting insight "Peter could you not watch with me one hour?" If only Peter knew what the nature of the spiritual warfare was.

V72 tells us Peter broke down and wept after the rooster crowed three times. The Reformation Heritage Study Bible says "The form of the greek verb indicates prolonged weeping, a sign that Christ's grace was winning Peter back in repentance".

Luke 22:31-34; 39-46; 54-62
Luke's gospel goes somewhat deeper into the nature of the spiritual warfare. V31 tells us that Satan desired to 'sift Peter like wheat'. Satan desired to destroy the work of Christ and his disciples. But he is limited by God's sovereign power.

Our Lord prayed that Peter's faith would not fail, and that when he returned in repentance, our Lord wanted him to strengthen his brethren. Peter did this especially in his two epistles.

Peter assured our Lord he was ready to die rather than deny his Lord. If only he knew the weak state of his heart.

In v45, after our Lord prayed in anguish, he found the disciples sleeping. The verse says they were exhausted from their grief. The Reformation Heritage Study Bible says "Luke uses a medical word here that indicates more than medical exhaustion, implying intense pain, anguish, or sorrow." Our Lord tells them to get up and pray so that they will not fall into temptation. This is a challenge and encouragement to the Christian. When one is physically or mentally exhausted, one needs to pray all the more; if one does not do this the devil will exploit any weakness.

John 21:15-17
John 18 records Peter's denial. John 21 is important because it records Peter's restoration.

Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. This strikes at Peter's heart because Peter denied our Lord three times. Peter is restored and is told to feed Christ's lambs, and shepherd his sheep. This brings to mind our Lord's command in Luke's gospel to strengthen the brethren after Peter has repented and being restored.

May we all take the challenge to meditate on the Word, watch and pray. As Paul says in 2 Cor 2, we are not ignorant of Satan's devices.

Thank you much for this reminder. The whole scenario shows that the three best of the disciples could not endure temptation in its full force. Only one at the Garden was up to the work.

And even He had to fetch it by prayer.

If you can get ahold of, Hugh Martin's "The Shadow of Calvary" is marvelous on the Garden of Gethsemane.

Excellent thoughts, Brother. Amen.

And if I may, I will recommend one of the best books on this subject, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices by Thomas Brooks. This book lends itself to devotional reading. Though you certainly may, this book does not need to be read straight through. It is a survival manual for the Soldier of the Cross. Instead of reading it once through, you will come back to it again and again.

View attachment 7495

I have only read bits of Brooks here but found it insightful and useful. Hope to read in full someday. If I may offer as a complement, Thomas Watson on the petition "Lead us not into temptation":


A sermon worth meditating on and studying deeply.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
If you can get ahold of, Hugh Martin's "The Shadow of Calvary" is marvelous on the Garden of Gethsemane.
Thanks for the encouragement Jake. I have been intending to read Hugh Martin. A number of his works are highly praised. I have his work on Peter. Ironically I did not think to consult it when I did this meditation!
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
I have been reading Vos' sermons and have been reading one where Peter clearly did not watch and pray, but rushed into making a statement with little thought, about the Lord going to the cross.

Matt 16:21-23 says "from that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

In Geerhardus Vos' sermon XI (Banner of Truth 2020 edition), Vos says "Satan lays his hand on [Peter] and uses him as a tool for the fearful purpose of tempting Christ. It ought to be a warning to us; a reminder that we should never deem ourselves safe, not even in our best and most spiritual moments from the assaults of the enemy of our souls. There is no state of privilege, no degree of sanctification, no degree of sanctification, that can render us absolutely secure to the allurements of sin. It is only the continuous supply of the grace of God in answer to our prayer and our faith that can shield us.
 
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