Finding forgiveness after failure
“Stay here and keep watch.” (Mark 14:34)
Jesus was in turmoil. His command to his disciples was nothing in comparison to the death he was facing.
But when he returned from prayer, they were fast asleep. ‘Are you asleep?’ Jesus asked. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’ (Mark 14:37-38)
Jesus left, but when he returned, ‘he again found them sleeping'. (Mark 14:40)
The same thing happened a third time – a clear picture of the Christian life we all know so well.
We want to obey Jesus. His commands aren’t a burden. Lord, I won’t click on that site again. Tomorrow I’ll get up to read my Bible. I’m sorry for getting angry – it won’t happen again.
And then what?
Jesus again finds us on Google late at night, hitting Snooze nine times or losing our temper. Like the disciples, we ‘don’t know what to say to him' (Mark 14:40).
Jesus knows that we want to obey him. But he also knows that on our own we’re powerless to say no to our sinful desires (Romans 7:18).
‘The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Mark 14:38
We shouldn’t despair though. Here’s Jesus, forgiving his failing friends, over and over again.
He didn’t just forgive them because he was so patient. It was because he was about to die for their every failure, their every sin (Mark 14:41).
So here’s the bottom line: With Jesus’ forgiveness, failure is never final, nor fatal.
Like with his sleepy disciples, when we sin he comes to dust us down, and to give us the same command: C’mon, let’s go again. Pray you don’t fall into temptation.
The flesh may be weak. But with his Spirit, we’ll fight temptation with the promise of forgiveness.
And importantly, we’ll see gradual change where it was previously impossible (Galatians 5:17, ESV).