Matthew 26:41 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 26:41, NIV: Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'

Matthew 26:41, ESV: Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41, KJV: Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Matthew 26:41, NASB: Keep watching and praying, so that you do not come into temptation; the spirit iswilling, but the flesh is weak.'

Matthew 26:41, NLT: Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!'

Matthew 26:41, CSB: Stay awake and pray, so that you won't enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

What does Matthew 26:41 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Falling on His face in prayer, in a dark olive grove, Jesus is in literal agony, full of sorrow and sweating profusely (Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34; Luke 22:44). He has prayed to His Father that, if possible, the cup of God's judgment could pass from Him (Matthew 26:39), though He has made it clear that He will submit to the Father's will. He has returned to find His three most trusted disciples sleeping instead of "watching" with Him (Matthew 26:40).

Now Jesus urges them to watch and pray. He wants them to ask that they not fall prey to temptation. Jesus may be talking about the temptation to sleep or He might mean the temptation that will soon arrive to abandon Jesus because of danger. Jesus acknowledges that their spirit is willing to do what is right and honorable, but their flesh—their desires, appetites, urges—is weak (Romans 7:22–25). To be tempted is no sin (Hebrews 4:15), but when we fall to temptation, it is our fault alone (1Corinthians 10:13).

Jesus' words provide a clear instruction for one way to battle temptation to do wrong: Prayer. Prayer is a God-given weapon against our own sinful desires. God means for believers to overcome temptation, in part, through urgent and faithful prayer (James 5:16).