Luke – Wide Open Doors!
Jesus knows His mission is to die for the sins of the world. He has been focused on God’s Plan since the beginning of time. But know, hours before the suffering to complete the plan, He “went as usual to the Mount of Olives to pray”. Jesus was tempted as the Son of Man in the wilderness but stood firm as the Son of God in God’s plan of salvation for all who repent, believe and follow Jesus. Was Jesus being tempted by the evil one once more?
In our passage today, just hours from the cross, Jesus asks God for confirmation of HIS will for Jesus in this plan. Jesus knows before He asks what the answer will be. But He prays still, with so much energy, agony and passion for the sins of the world that his sweat fell like blood drops on the ground. Jesus knows God’s will was more important than His comfort. But He also knows the suffering will be great and the result will be a cross of humiliation and death before rising again to finish the work.
Was He tempted one more time by the evil one to stop God’s Plan? Is that why the Son of Man prayed continuously, without ceasing, alone with God, His Father throughout His ministry on earth and even now in the last moments of mission completion? But Jesus, Son of God, lays down His will for God’s will,
“Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Is that why he told his disciples repeatedly to “Pray that you will not give in to temptation” because if the Son of God is tempted, we will be tempted, too? YES!
Praying daily that we would not yield to temptations, asking God to “deliver us from evil” strengthens our focus on God and His plan for our lives. When we are following Jesus with all that is in us, the evil one will fight back with all that is in his simple, limited arsenal. He will lie to us, cause us to second guess, introduce fear back into our lives causing us to wonder if the time of suffering, mocking and teasing is worth following God’s plan for us to join Him in his work to help others find and follow Him, restoring a pure, holy, intimate relationship with Him.
Jesus prayed for his disciples, for Peter specifically, that his “faith should not fail”. Jesus knew what was going to happen to him. He knew Peter well and knew what His response would be to a threat against his beloved Friend when arrested in the garden. This is why He asked Peter and the others to pray so they would not be tempted, but they fell asleep.
Jesus passionately prayed for God’s will for Him and for his disciples to be done. He asks them to pray for themselves. Jesus knows Peter will deny him. He knows Peter will be tempted to follow him from a distance. The rest of the disciples ran as soon as the betrayal kiss was placed on the cheek of Jesus. But that’s not who Peter is. He loves Jesus deeply. Jesus loves him.
Jesus also knows that (Simon) Peter will be sorrowfully repentant as soon as the words, “I don’t know this man” comes from his lips a third time. So He tells Peter before it happens, “I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
Judas the betrayer was later regretfully sorry he did the deed of getting caught up in the temptation to sell out our Lord, but he was not repentant for the sin. There is a difference between regret and remorse. Regret is sorry you got caught. Remorse leads to repentance and a turning away from the sin of self.
Remember, Jesus taught Peter, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:13, NIV). But in the trouble, Peter forgets. Jesus forgives Peter and the rest is history! Because of Peter, (and many others) God’s church is alive today!
Luke 22, New Living Translation
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”
34 But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?”
“No,” they replied.
36 “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! 37 For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”
38 “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.”
“That’s enough,” he said.
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39 Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. 40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
45 At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
Dear Friends reading this today, I believe for every temptation avoided, through the power of prayer, our lives experience another extreme growth spurt in our maturing faith! So, we must continually pray that we will not give in to temptation. Hour by hour. One day at a time.
Our Father In Heaven,
Hallowed be Your Name.
May your Kingdom come, YOUR WILL be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us THIS DAY all you know we will need.
Lead us NOT into temptations but DELIVER us from all evil and evil’s schemes to destroy us. Keep us alert and focused.
For YOU have all power.
The power of Your Holy Spirit lives in us.
So, to YOU be all glory, honor and praise forever and ever.
In Jesus Name, Amen! Yes!