Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From a sermon by Pastor John Clark
The reason Jesus spent so much time in prayer was because he needed to pray. He was not spending whole nights in prayer to make an impression on people. In himself, he was just as helpless against the flesh as we are, just as ignorant of its cunning deceit as we are, and just as much in need of God’s mercy and protection as we are. He told those who would listen that, of himself, he could “do nothing” (Jn. 5:30). He told the rich young ruler that no one, including himself, was good, but that only God was good (Mt. 19:17).
Jesus’ wisdom was that he realized his need of God, and without that kind of wisdom, we are all “sitting ducks” for the next wicked hunter of souls that comes along, the next fad that passes through our culture, the next evil suggestion, the next wrong idea about God. We can do nothing that is good, nothing that is right, nothing that is holy, without God’s help, just like Jesus our Lord. The flesh is helpless against sin, and we are helpless against the flesh, for we are covered with it, just like Jesus.
Our natures are in our flesh. If you had the flesh, or body, of a fish, you would have the nature of a fish. If you had the flesh of an elephant, you would have the nature of an elephant. Every creature’s nature is in the flesh of that creature. And we are told in Hebrews (2:14-16) that when the Son of God came to earth, he took on the nature of Abraham. In other words, the Son of God took on a fleshly body-in his case, one that had descended from the patriarch Abraham. It was human flesh, and in that flesh was man’s corrupt human nature. None of us can overcome that nature, for it is us.
Understanding that he had a corrupt human nature once he had taken on human flesh, Jesus poured out his soul to God for help, and he received that help in the form of spiritual power and wisdom. And Jesus is our example, not because he was putting on an act of needing God’s help but because he really needed God’s help and showed us how to obtain it. He sought God’s help as we can, and he received overcoming power from God as we can. He overcame his own fleshly nature by the power of the holy Ghost, and his example was intended to show us that we can overcome our human nature by that same power. It is available! Jesus died to make it available. And since that overcoming power is available to those who will humble themselves to seek it, there is no more excuse for sin.
If you have not received sufficient power from God to cease from sin, it is only because you have not sufficiently sought it. Go for it! Jesus suffered greatly to make for us a way of escape from the dominion of our sinful, fleshly nature, and we are deserving of God’s great wrath if we so lightly esteem the sacrifice of Jesus that we do not take advantage of it.
Ask. The Father is waiting to hear your cry.