Why are you Sleeping?

1/22/12 SCC Luke 22:39-46


††††††††††† The event begins and ends with a call to prayer Pray that you may not enter into temptation. Praying at the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew he would soon be arrested and suffers the agony of the cross. He also knew the disciples would be tempted to deny him and flee. Jesus had already confronted Peter on this count and stated that I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail since Satan had demanded to sift him like wheat v 31. The point seems to be that prayer is essential so they will not do thatóthat is be tempted to sin this way.


Setting 39

††††††††††† We can note a few things. First, he came out from the last supper, the final meal together with his disciples. Then, he proceeded to the Mt of Olives that evening, as was his custom. The Mt. of Olives is located east of Jerusalem in a range that extends north and south for two and a half miles. The Olive peak is the middle one extending 2660 feet above sea level and is directly across from the Temple. Luke 21:37 mentions Jesusí custom of lodging at the Mount of Olives. Finally, Luke tells us the disciples also follow him. So, Jesus goes and the disciples follow. This simple setting shows Jesus preparing Himself to address his Father that night about his coming ordeal.


Jesus Warning about Prayer and Temptation 40

††††††††††† Now he arrives at the Mt. of Olives. It would take a bit since they would most likely traverse through the lions or eastern or golden gate down the Kidron valley and up the side of the Mt of Olives. He then warns the disciples commanding them to pray that they may not enter temptation. In context, previously, Jesus had said the same kind of thing to Peter (22:28-38). Jesus fears that they will deny him, which is a very real possibility, especially since Satan had already requested to sift Peter like wheat. The imagery is of grain in a sieve where the head is taken apart. An idiom would be ĎTake him apartí or Ďpick her to piecesí. So Satan would like to bring Peter to ruin, leave him in pieces, exposing his unfaithfulness to Christ. This is more than a trial. It is Satan wanting to get them to defect!


††††††††††† But prayer will protect them from unfaithfulness by denial Jesus says. It will encourage them to persevere and as Jesus said in Peterís case, that when once yo9u have turned again, strengthen your brothers v 32. Prayer seems to be the subject of this section. Five times it is mentioned. But not just prayer but prayer in the face of suffering that may tempt you to sin in some way. Here it indicates that we should be vigilant about this type of praying because of how tempting sinning is when we are suffering or under trial and strain and stress.


Jesus Prays 41-42

††††††††††† 41 Preparing to pray, Jesus withdraws himself away to be alone to pray. In effect, he is leaving the disciples all alone just far enough away not to be heard. Then he prepares to pray, kneeling down. Mark says Jesus is falling to the ground and Matthew describes him as falling on his face. This all stresses Jesusí humility in prayer to His Father. Prayer on our knees can be an expression of humility as we pray to God. It is not commanded and there are many postures observed as people pray in the Bible.


††††††††††† 42 Here is the content of Jesus prayer. In essence He requests that His Father remove the cup of suffering and wrath he is about to experience. The request is made in the context of the will of His Father. He wants to be subject to that even though he is making an honest request for another possibility. He is not demanding that His Father do so. He is not even expecting His Father to do so. But it is a request that truly represents Jesus desire. It is a request to escape future suffering---that He does not go through the death on the cross and all that entails. Yet at the same time He knew it was not possible for God the Father to answer that request. From Matthew we know he prayed three different times either over an hour at an hour a time with great intensity. All along knowing it would not be granted.

††††††††††† That is fascinating. So it seems that we can pray for an outcome even though we do not believe God will bring about. Itís good to pray for suffering to be removed because God is against that. Jesus genuinely desired relief from suffering associated with the cross but he did not expect that. It is good to desire these things and express these things. Even Jesus did not get a yes answer to all his requests. He knew the will of the Father. I can pray that none should perish. God is not willing that anyone perish. I can desire the desires of God as I pray. But people will perish even though God is not willing that they do but it is good to pray about that which, based on Revelation, I do not believe God will bring about.


Prayer and Angels 43-44

††††††††††† 43 Angelic aid arrives in response to Jesusí prayer. The angel is from heaven where the good angels live. The Kingdom of God includes good angels. It also includes the realm of the Father, Son, and HS and all believers dead and alive. That is the Kingdom of God. God stands beside the one who suffers according to His will. Jesus will not suffer alone! This aid is in the form of strengthening Jesus to face the coming ordeal.


††††††††††† 44 With the angel present, assisting Jesus at this moment of intense need, Luke notes the trauma Jesus now faces. The emotion and psychological effect become dramatic as he entreats His Father more intensely. It is underscored by reference to Jesus agony. This inner agony brings a physical reaction. Sweat beading up like clots of blood, his emotional state so extreme that he perspires profusely. The sweat beads multiplying and rolling off of his face and body. Here Luke goes out of his way to portray the humanity of Jesus. It is clear that Jesus realizes the terrible trial awaiting him but is ready to face death because His Father has strengthened him for that task.


Another Warning 45-46††††††

††††††††††† 45 Here the attention turns back to the disciples. The setting reminds us that they had had a long day. Jesus rose from prayer and makes his way back to his disciples. He finds them napping in their grief. Overwhelmed and emotionally drained after realizing Jesus impending death they are in an emotionally exhausted condition.


††††††††††† 46 It seems that when Jesus arrived he awakened the disciples asking them, Why are you sleeping?We can see that the picture is one of vulnerability to temptation. Jesus sensing this once again repeats his instruction that they rise and pray that you may not enter in to temptation. When the moment of truth comes for Jesus the only way they can be ready to face that is by depending upon God. Faithfulness to God will only happen if they remain vigilant and are prepared to be faithful to Christ.


Comments and Lessons

††††††††††† We should pray that we would overcome our temptations to sin. This is especially true if we are in a distressing situation that makes us vulnerable to that temptation. Jesus soul is deeply grieved to the point of death and He prays about it. Here is an example of a perfect prayer where the basic request of the prayer is unanswered. God the Father is silent. He gave no relief to Christís suffering. On top of that Jesus disciplesí could not stay awake and Peter would soon betray him. Then, they would all fall away in fear. He prayed for God to remove all of that from Him but the Father didnít. So His earthly circumstances became very dark and He died with that darkness all around him.


††††††††††† We may be prone to think will yeah that was because Jesus was dying on the cross and this is all part of that. But Jesus also told us to take up our cross and follow Him. If they hated Christ they will hate you. What happened to the prominent apostles? James was killed by Herod. Peter was crucified according to tradition. Paul said all had left him except a few and was beheaded by Caesar. John was exiled to die of exposure and starvation. The apostles died with darkness all around them. As we mature God will conform us to the image of His Son including his suffering and grief. For each of us that will be different but for most it will be a suffering situation of some kind even at death. But as we face the crisis we can pray and being submitted to Godís will strengthened to take up our cross and follow Him.