The Gospel of Luke - Part 96
Preparing thru Prayer — Luke 22:39-46, continued

October 21, 2007
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

 Review:

Last week we left Jesus and the Disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. We studied the Disciples and how what they did related to us. While Jesus prayed, they slept. He asked for their support, but they slept.

Jesus is now preparing himself for what He is about to face and He does it by praying, just what we should do when we face challenges.

We saw that Jesus was deeply grieved, distressed, sorrowful, not for the pain He was going to face, but because He, who was sin free, would become sin, would take on our sin, and therefore no longer be in fellowship with the Father. Separation from the Father was much more significant that the physical pain He would endure.

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)

This morning let’s pick up our study of Jesus in the Garden. Luke recorded:

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
Let’s start with the prayer to the Father.
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.” —Luke 22:41,42
Mark’s record of this prayer uses the word Abba as Jesus addresses the Father.
And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” —Mark 14:36
He uses the familiar, intimate Jewish (Aramaic) word for father. These words give us a glimpse into the closeness that the Son has with His heavenly Father. “Father” is also how Jesus taught us to pray: Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. —Matthew 6:9

What are some implications of the Father/child relationship that God has given us with Himself?

Jesus asks the Father to "remove this cup from me".   What do you think He meant? The cup represents the sufferings that Jesus will experience on the cross in bearing our sins. Is Jesus trying to get out of doing God’s will? No, of course not. But Jesus set an example for us in being honest about expressing our feelings and desires to God when we pray.  Jesus had used the image of “the cup” to refer to His sufferings in other conversations with His disciples:
Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” —Matthew 20:22

So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” —John 18:11
Ryrie’s Study Notes say: “The cup was all the suffering involved in the sinless Son of God taking upon Himself the sin of mankind, including the necessary, though temporary, separation from God (Mt 27:46). He naturally shrank from this, though He willingly submitted to it.” (Ryrie’s Study Notes)

The Life Application Bible Notes tell us: “Was Jesus trying to get out of his mission? It is never wrong to express our true feelings to God. Jesus exposed his dread of the coming trials, but he also reaffirmed his commitment to do what God wanted. The cup he spoke of meant the terrible agony he knew he would endure—not only the horror of the crucifixion but, even worse, the total separation from God that he would have to experience in order to die for the world’s sins.” (Life Application Bible Notes)

But as a part of Jesus’ request, He adds: “… Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Jesus also models for us submission to the Father’s will. This is such an important aspect of prayer! Certainly, we bring our hopes and desires to God. But our greatest desire when we pray is that the will of God be done, even above our own desires.

John the Apostle taught clearly that a willingness to do God’s will is a condition for answered prayer:

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. —1 John 5:14-15
This statement in Luke 22:42 was not the first time Jesus had stated His commitment to and submission to the will of God. In fact, throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had told the disciples that He was here to do His Father’s will, not His own. John recorded:
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work”. —John 4:34

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me”. —John 5:30

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. —John 6:38
Then when Jesus was in His greatest agony,
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. —Luke 22:43
Only Luke records this detail — that God sent an angel to strengthen Jesus as He prayed. Angels also visited Jesus after He was tempted by the devil in the desert in Matthew 4:
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. —Mark 4:11
God may not send an angel to strengthen us, or He might, but He can use prayer to strengthen us and to prepare us for what we face in life each day. As we pray, He can use His Spirit and His Word to minister to us, to encourage us, to refresh us.

Then Luke tells us:

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. —Luke 22:44
This picture provides a vivid picture of how intensely Jesus was praying — consider the emotion and the exertion that characterized Jesus praying. How different from the casual prayers of us today!

The verse does not say Jesus was bleeding but that “His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” — that is, His exertion as He prayed was so extreme that sweat poured off Him like blood flowing from an open wound.

The author of Hebrews, who I believe is Paul, may well have been thinking of Jesus praying at Gethsemane when he wrote:

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. —Hebrews 5:7
The word agony is from the Greek word αγονια [agonia]. It is where we get our English word “agony” and is used only here in the New Testament. Maybe that reminds us that Jesus’ agony was unique in its intensity — no one has suffered like He suffered.

Then Jesus returned to the Disciples.

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 22:45-46
When Jesus had finished praying, He wasn’t rested (He was probably exhausted!) But He was prepared. These three hours of prayer were essential in preparing Jesus to face the trials and suffering of the coming day.  We learn an important principle here — prayer prepares us to face adversity. Jesus prayed and was fully prepared; the disciples slept and were completely unprepared.  It’s been said that at Gethsemane Jesus did not drink the cup but He did accept the cup. He surrendered fully to His Father’s will. The real battle was won not on the cross but in the Garden as Jesus prayed.

Preparation for the Cross: - (Luke 22:47-71)

This last section of Chapter 22 records the initial events leading up to the Lord’s crucifixion. In particular, we see how the Disciples responded to Jesus’ arrest.

The Gospels don't gloss over or conceal the Disciples' failures during this time. In fact, this characteristic of the Scriptures is one of the most compelling indicators of its historical accuracy.

While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Then they seized him and led him away. —Luke 22:47-54
This section starts off with the crowd arriving to arrest Jesus led by Judas. Before we specifically look at these verses, let’s review what we learned about Judas several weeks ago. Judas is mentioned in all four of the Gospels as well as in the book of Acts. Luke speaks of Judas the least of all the Gospels, with only four passages mentioning Judas by name. Let’s review quickly what we can learn about Judas from these passages:
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. ——Luke 6:12-16
Look at what can we see about Judas from this passage.
Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. —Luke 22:3-6
Satan — This passage reminds us of the spiritual battle that is going on. It wasn’t just a matter of Judas choosing — God was at work but Satan was also at work. Other references also point to the devil being at work in Judas’ heart.

Entered — Satan is only able to “enter” our hearts if we open them up to him. Lust, greed, pride can all become doorways for the devil to get into our lives. There’s a great warning in Ephesians related to this:

...and give no opportunity to the devil. —Ephesians 4:27
Money — This was apparently the gateway the devil used in Judas’ life.

Matthew tells us:

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. —
John’s Gospel mentions specifically Judas’ greed:
But Judas Iscariot, one of his Disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. —John 12:4-6
The Bible is filled with warnings about the danger of greed. This is a sin that is rarely condemned in our materialistic culture.
But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this. —Luke 22:21-23

Here we see that though the disciples had no idea that who the traitor might be, Jesus always knew that Judas would betray Him:
But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) —John 6:64

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him. —John 6:70-71

Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. —John 13:26

While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” —Luke 22:47-48
Now we finally come to the last passage in Luke about Judas — where we started!

Judas' heart has become hardened and unresponsive to Jesus. He leads those opposed to Jesus and identifies Jesus in the darkness to the others by giving Him a kiss of greeting. Jesus is not fooled by Judas' deceit — “are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

It’s sobering to consider how little sins can lead to big sins.

Don’t tolerate “little” sin habits — you never know what they may grow up to become.