Reading 27
Dropping the Ball—Matthew 26

Read Chapter 26

Matthew chapter 26 includes the Last Supper, Jesus praying in Gethsemane, Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, and Peter’s denial of Jesus. These aren’t easy topics to cover. We take away different lessons each time we have read these stories. As I read this in quarantine, Jesus’s prayer and Peter’s denial stuck out to me.

The disciples stuck out to me in Gethsemane. They dropped the ball and fell asleep on the job. Jesus said to them, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26: 40-41). I often feel like my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. During these times of isolation, it can be easy to lose sight of Jesus. I’ve dropped the ball on keeping a strong relationship with Christ, like the disciples dropped the ball while sleeping in Gethsemane. It is not hard to stay awake for one hour, just like it is not hard to watch a sermon online; our spirit may be willing, but our flesh is weak.

Peter’s denial of Jesus has always been interesting to me. I never understood why anyone would deny Jesus. Jesus is the coolest guy in the world; he walked on water, cured the sick, brought sight to the blind, and is God’s son, why would anyone deny knowing him? Now I understand. It’s easier to go about life without talking about your faith. I don’t think I have blatantly denied Jesus or Christianity, but I have denied myself a strong relationship with Christ and denied sharing my faith with others. In quarantine, I have to be very intentional about talking to God. Without in-person church services and youth group, I have seen less of God because I haven’t been looking for God. While this isn’t the same denial as Peter’s, it’s denial nonetheless.

But Jesus still died on the cross, even after his disciples fell asleep on him and Peter denied him. Remember, even when we drop the ball and deny Jesus, we are loved.

To Consider:

  • Have there been times in your life when you denied Christ or dropped the ball, like Peter and the disciples in Gethsemane?
  • How was your interpretation of Matthew chapter 26 different this time around?

Dear God, remind us that you are there when we stumble and drop the ball. Remind us that no matter how much we deny you, you will never deny us. Help us to follow our willing spirits and turn that willingness into action to serve you. In your name we pray, Amen.

Gillian Kepley (she/her/hers) is a member of St. Philip, Raleigh, a rising senior at Apex High School, and hopes to attend UNC-Chapel Hill after high school. She has served on the LYO Board for three years: VP as a sophomore and senior, and President as a junior. She currently teaches taekwondo for Vision Martial Arts, serves as stage manager for her school’s drama program, and as president of Apex High’s Key Club.