The Gospel of Luke - Part 94
Preparing through Prayer — Luke 22:39-46

September 30, 2007
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

Review:

We are in the section of Luke 22 that we entitled Preparing the Disciples. Remember that we are in the last week of Jesus’ life here on earth, at least the first time.

We outlined Chapter 22 as:
A.   Preparing for the Passover     (22:1-13)
B.   Preparing the Disciples (1)   (22:14-23)
C.   Preparing the Disciples (2)   (22:24-38)
D.   Preparing thru Prayer   (22:39-46)
E.   Preparing for the Cross   (22:47-71)

In the last lesson we saw the Disciples all wanting to be the leader, the most important and Jesus telling them that they still did not get it. The Jesus way is to be a servant leader, to serve others. Then we saw Jesus tell Peter that even he was going to bail out, to which Peter argued, Not Me! The disciples were human and had most of the normal human weaknesses, just like you and just like me. It is always interesting to see how honest the Bible is about not covering the warts on the heroes.

As we wrap up the discussions at the Last Supper, we see that we need to continually trust Jesus.

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” —Luke 22:35-38
The theme of this passage is that difficult times were ahead, both for the disciples and for the Lord. So Jesus starts this section out by emphasizing His provision:
And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” —Luke 22:35
Jesus taught the disciples many lessons over the years they were together, but one of the most important was the promise of His provision. When we are doing His will we can be confident that He will meet our needs.

Hudson Taylor founded a mission to China that would eventually have over a thousand missionaries in-country. One of his often-quoted statements was: “Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning … He sustained three million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect He will send three million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all ... Depend on it: God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s provision.” (Hudson Taylor)

There are many promises to believers of the Lord’s provision:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. —Psalm 23:1

For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. —Luke 12:30-33

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. —2 Corinthians 9:6

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:19
What applications can we make from the promise of God’s provision? Jesus said to them:
“But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” ...  And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” —Luke 22:36, 38
There is some debate about what Jesus was saying here. The disciples took His words literally which was not what He intended. (Is there any other place in the Scriptures where He encouraged missionaries to carry weapons?)

Here again the theme is preparation: Jesus is telling them that they need to be prepared for times when they will have financial needs and times when there will be opposition and even persecution. The “purse”, “bag” and “sword” are not intended to be literal but symbolic of the difficulties they will face.  This meaning is supported by the inserted comments Jesus makes about Himself:

For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: “And he was numbered with the transgressors.” For what is written about me has its fulfillment. —Luke 22:37
Jesus refers to probably the greatest prophetic passage found in the Old Testament concerning Jesus’ sacrificial death — Isaiah 53. In particular, Jesus is quoting part of verse 12:
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors. —Isaiah 53:12
In speaking of the adversity and difficulty that the disciples would face, Jesus pointed them to His own example. The prophecies about His death recorded in Isaiah 53 would reach their fulfillment in just a few hours.  We need to remember that adversity is an important tool that the Lord will use in our lives to strengthen our lives and develop our character. Remember, His goal is not our comfort but our Christlikeness.
. . .at present you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident — it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold. . . .This proving of your faith is planned to result in praise and honor and glory in the day when Jesus Christ reveals Himself. —1 Peter 1:6-7 [Phillips Paraphrase]
Chuck Swindoll says: “Trials are not an elective in the Christian-life curriculum; they are a required course. Trials 101 is a prerequisite to Christlikeness.”

This passage reminds us that the Lord never promised that following Him meant a life of ease and comfort. No, Jesus said repeatedly that discipleship meant experiencing adversity and opposition.

What application(s) do you think we can make from this truth?

D. Preparing through Prayer

We have been learning from Jesus as He prepared the Disciples for what was coming. At this point in Luke 22, we see Jesus preparing Himself for His trials and crucifixion. There’s a lesson for us here: if Jesus needed time alone with His Father to prepare, how much more do we need to be spending much time in the Word and prayer to prepare for what we will face in life!

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” —Luke 22-39-46
Now Jesus goes over to the Garden of Gethsemane

Jesus’ time in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane is recorded in three of the four Gospels. The Gospel of John only has a brief reference to Jesus going to this place but no mention of the time in prayer. Matthew and Mark actually go into more detail than Luke, but Luke does add details not included in the other Gospels.

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. —Luke 22:39

The Mount of Olives was the middle of three peaks that form a ridge that rises above Jerusalem and is directly to the east of the city. The sides of this ridge were covered with olive trees. The Mount of Olives is only mentioned in the Gospels in the New Testament. However, there are references in the Old Testament to this location: Although Luke does not tell us exactly where on the Mount of Olives that Jesus went to pray, Mathew and Mark do.
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. ... And they went to a place called Gethsemane. —Mark 14:26,32

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. ... Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane. —Matthew 26:30,36
Gethsemane comes from to Hebrew words which mean “olive press”. It was probably named for a place where an oil press had been used in harvesting olives from the olives trees. There is some debate as to the exact location of Gethsemane. A good guess seems to be that it was about a half mile outside the walls of Jerusalem, up the side of the Mount of Olives. John’s Gospel tells us this location was a “garden”:
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. —John 18:1
This garden may have been located in an orchard of Olive trees. It was a place of beauty and solitude, overlooking Jerusalem.

John MacArthur says that some scholars believe that this garden probably had a wall or fence around it, with an entrance into it. It may have been owned by some unnamed friend/disciple of Jesus who made it available to the Lord and His disciples whenever He desired to use it.

Luke tells us in verse 39 that Jesus often went here.

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, —Luke 22:39
Gethsemane was a place Jesus had frequently gone to spend time with His disciples:
And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. —Luke 21:37

Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. —John 18:2
As we have seen before, one theme in this chapter is preparation. This passage shows Jesus’ final preparations for the cross. These hours at Gethsemane were crucial to Jesus being able to face the events of the next 24 hours. Because Matthew and Mark go into greater detail concerning Jesus’ time in the garden, I suggest we study Matthew’s account rather than Luke’s.

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Next week — we will dive into the events of the Garden.