Key Text: Luke 22:39-46
The full moon of Passover rises over Jerusalem and the last night of Jesus’s earthly life begins. His ministry throughout, has been a running battle with the powers of darkness but this night finds the powers and principalities rallying everything they have against Him. They had not done this since their first confrontation with Jesus in the desert at the beginning of His ministry.
Dr Luke puts it like this, Luke 4:13 ‘And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.’
Satan is now consolidating all his resources and efforts to bring Jesus to the cross believing it to be his final victory; yet it is this very cup that the Father has given Jesus to drink 42 ‘Father if you are willing , remove this cup from me, nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.’
This was one evening where two plans were being revealed. Satan’s plan for the destruction of Jesus and the revealing of the Father’s plan to bring our salvation/rescue through Jesus. This was a significant night in the fight for our rescue from the effects of sin and death.
Jesus is feeling the weight of the moment. He is feeling the significance and urgency of the hour and we through Dr Luke, get some insight into what Jesus is feeling. We see the humanity of Jesus who was fully God and fully man.
Think about the fact that Jesus was not just fully God but fully man, He got tired, He got hungry, He felt pain and every human emotion. Acts10:38 Peter speaking about Jesus said ‘…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with Power.’
In the same way that we need the anointing of Holy Spirit for works of power, so too Jesus in the fullness of His humanity, needed the same anointing.
‘…as was His custom’ Jesus had a routine, a rhythm of prayer where He would regularly commune with His Father.
‘…the disciples followed Him.’ Jesus had many followers, He had the multitudes, He had many disciples not just the twelve, twelve He chose as apostles, within the twelve He had the three, In the three He had the one. Jesus had different layers of connectivity with people based on how far they were prepared to go with Him.
With prayer you won’t be able to take everyone and not everyone is going to be able to go with you. Jesus understood this principle.
Great to pray in community but have you got your three? Have you got your one? Those who understand you, have the same mindset, spiritual discernment, will walk with you in prayer?
40 And when He came to the place… There was a specific place, it wasn’t just a place of happenstance. There was a specific place on the mount of Olives.
Matthew 6:6 ‘…when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.’
Mount of Olives – Place of fulfilled prophecy, place of prayer, place of hope, place of redemption, a place of victory. Do we have our specific places or spaces where we go to meet and commune with the Father? Jesus did. Specific places to encounter God, he was intentional about it. We need those places when the pressures of life seem to overwhelm us and we want to run. Away or curl up and die. We need a place that we can go to and know that we can meet with our father in prayer.
When Jesus comes to His place of prayer, Look at what He tells them to pray 40 ‘Pray that you may not enter temptation.’ He does not say ‘Pray that you won’t be tempted.’ Temptation is part of our humanity, this was satan’s strategy in the desert with Jesus. The issue is not that we are from time to time tempted but that we don’t pursue and enter into it.
41…and He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed.’There was no casual approach to His praying, He adopted a posture that signalled to heaven, I want to engage.
Then look at how He actually prayed ‘Father, (Intimacy) If you are willing,(Humility) remove this cup from me.(Transparency)Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.’ (Submission aligning His will with the Father) Look what happens when we pray in our weakness 43 ‘there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him.’
Remember Luke is a doctor and takes the time to tell us that Jesus was under so much pressure and stress that His sweat became blood. Medics say that it is linked to the ‘fight or flight’ There was an internal battle between His humanity and His divinity. He was literally carrying the weight of the world in this moment.
So don’t say that this was an easy thing for Jesus because it wasn’t, resolving to submit Himself to the cross and the will of the Father was an agonisingly painful decision. To say otherwise is to minimise and devalue the cost of His sacrifice.
46 Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter temptation.
Jesus bookends this scene with the warning ‘Pray that you may not enter temptation.’ He enters the battle knowing that the satan’s Howitzer, his big gun is temptation. Jesus was unsure how He would come through, would He cave in? Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
But having triumphed, not giving in to the temptation, He emerges victorious and reminds them of the key to overcoming the enemy’s strategy.
There are many things that will come our way, put in front of us to take us away from the target of our prayers or the issue of life.
Jesus says it’s coming be alert, be aware but don’t enter in.