John T. Willis

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Jesus' Prayer and Arrest--Luke 22:39-53

After instituting and sharing in the Lord's Supper with his disciples, and teaching them four important truths connected with the Lord's Supper, Jesus followed a regular practice: he went aside to spend time with his Heavenly Father in Prayer. He took his disciples with him to the Mount of Olives. After praying, Judas Iscariot, knowing where Jesus would be, brought his wicked associates, "the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders," betrayed Jesus, and handed him over to the Jewish authorities so he would be crucified. These two events appear in Luke 22:39-53, which naturally falls into two parts.

I. Jesus' Prayer. Luke 22:39-46. See Mark 14:26, 32-42; Matthew 26:30, 36-46.
   a. Jesus went out of the upper room where he had shared with his disciples in the first Lord's Supper, and went to the Mount of Olives. Mark 14:32; Matthew 26:36 identify the location at the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. Jesus did this "as was his custom," a common term found also in Luke 1:9; 2:42. Jesus' disciples follow him. 22:39.
   b. When they arrived at this spot, Jesus told them, "Pray that you may not come into the time of trial." When Jesus is arrested and suffers, this also become a test for all of his followers to see the faithfulness and perseverance of their trust in God. 22:40.
   c. Jesus then withdrew from his disciples "about a stone's throw" so they could see him, but could not hear his words. Jesus knelt down and prayed. A common practice in prayer is kneeling. See Mark 1:40; 10:17; 15:19; Matthew 17:14; 27:29; Luke 5:8; Acts 7:60; 9:40; 20:36; 21:5; Romans 14:11; Ephesians 3:14; Philippians 2:10. The same practice appears often in the Hebrew Bible, as in Psalm 95:6; 2 Chronicles 6:13. Godly people often kneel before God our Father to demonstrate submission and humility. This is a very important spiritual gesture for godly people. The very fact that Jesus Himself PRAYED indicates that HE HIMSELF was dependent on his Heavenly Father and was in submission to HIM. 22:41.
   d. Jesus' prayer was simple and brief: "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done." At his point, Jesus did not know in advance what his Heavenly Father might do. He left this decision totally in God the Father's hands. Jesus expressed his own desire, but he deferred to his Heavenly Father's superior will and desire. This attitude is very important for every follower of God through Jesus Christ. 22:42.
   e. At this very instance, in response to God the Father, an angel from heaven appeared to Jesus to give him strength. Obviously, the Father's answer is both Yes and No. Jesus, my Son, you must go through the crucifixion, but during that time, I will give you the proper strength to ultimately survive. 22:43.
   f. Knowing this response, Jesus was in anguish. He prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling on the ground. Here Jesus was not attempting to persuade his Heavenly Father to change his mind, but to steel his heart about the events about to occur shortly. 22:44.
   g. When Jesus finished his prayer, he return to his disciples and found them sleeping because of grief. Jesus rebuked them for being asleep, and told them to get up and pray that they might not come into the time of trial. Jesus is calling them to rise about such human reactions as sleep and grief, and to trust fully in God our Father. 22:45-46.

II. Jesus' Arrest. Luke 22:47-53. See also Mark 14:43-52; Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:2-11.
     a. While Jesus was still speaking with his disciples, suddenly Judas Iscariot led a crowd to find Jesus. Judas Iscariot approached Jesus to kiss him. Jesus immediately responded, "Is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?" This fulfills the prediction in Luke 22:21-23.  22:47-48.
     b. Realizing what was happening, Jesus' disciples asked Jesus: "Lord, should we strike with the sword?" See Luke 22:38. Not giving Jesus time to respond, Peter struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. See John 18:10. Peter was only trying to keep Jesus from being arrested and crucified. 22:49-50.
     c. Jesus immediately retaliated, telling Peter and his companions not to try to defend Jesus. Then Jesus touched the slave's ear and healed him. Here Jesus shows compassion on his enemies, and demonstrated his miraculous power as divine. 22:51.
     d. Jesus then turned to his opponents and assailants. "Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit?" He reminded them that they could have arrested him while he taught in the Jerusalem temple many days, but they did not lay hands on him. But THIS is your hour, and the power of darkness. Darkness, a symbol of evil, dominates the hearts of Jesus' attackers, the very darkness that Jesus came into the world to bring to all people (see Luke 1:79). This darkness must first spread over the whole earth (see Luke 23:44). Jesus opponents came in the physical dark of the night to cover up the moral darkness of their hearts and deeds. In the world, there is always a strong contrast or antithesis between darkness and light--see John 13:30; 19:11. 22:52-53.

Share YOUR experiences and problems and feelings and weaknesses and resolutions with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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