Luke 22:39-53 (NIV)
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
“The usual manner of prayer at that time was to pray in a standing position. That Jesus knelt down proves the violence of His struggle in Gethsemane.”
–Norval Geldenhuys (minister in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa)
42“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
In response to Jesus’ prayers, the Father did not take the cup from Jesus, but He strengthened Jesus to be able to “take and drink” the cup.
How often do I miss out on the strengthening because I refuse to accept God’s answer to my prayer? Lord, forgive me.
44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46“Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Reflections on prayer:
“Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Prayer doesn’t get man’s will done in heaven; it gets God’s will done on earth.”
“Don’t pray to escape trouble. Don’t pray to be comfortable in your emotions. Pray to do the will of God in every situation. Nothing else is worth praying for.”
–Samuel M. Shoemaker
“The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely.”
47While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
51But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw:
Malchus, the servant of the high priest Caiaphas, was the Father’s last love note to Caiaphas. Malchus was the servant whose ear Peter sliced off during Jesus’ arrest. In his gracious mercy Jesus restored Malchus’s ear, and Malchus’s witness to Caiaphas of that event was the high priest’s last chance for repentance. It was God’s final witness to him: he put someone right in Caiaphas’s court who had been touched by the loving hand of Jesus. Oh, the unending mercy of God! If a person is lost, it will be in spite of himself and in spite of the evidence that God stacks up in his life. I am confident that Caiaphas did not employ Malchus for long after this incident of healing. I imagine that the sight of Malchus’s ear made Caiaphas uneasy and nervous.
When we choose not to obey and do not act on the witness God gives to us, sooner or later we will banish that witness from our lives because we cannot tolerate its suggestive presence. The love of God continues to point to him in all areas of life, even in the lives of the most hardened unbelievers, but some of us refuse to see or hear it.
Are you attentive to the witnesses to Christ that he has purposely placed all throughout your life? He witnesses not just to his own reality, but also to his love, his beauty, his truth, his goodness, his justice, and his magnificence. Are you listening and watching for the witness?
52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
HERE is “Gethsemane Hymn,” by Keith and Kristyn Getty.