Pray…

Luke 22:39-46

 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.  When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.  And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.  Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

 “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  Do we hear this advice?  When times get rough do we pray this prayer?  What temptation?  To give up?  Give up what?  What makes the times rough?  Is it lack?  If we ‘give up’ do we have more?  Is it conflict?  If we ‘give up’ does the conflict go away?  Pray that you may not enter into temptation, to solve the problem in your own strength?  Can you?  Have you?  There is no way but His.  He is our only hope and strength.  Pray that you may not enter into temptation…

Preparation…

Luke 22:31-38

And the Lord said,  “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”

Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?”

So they said, “Nothing.”

 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’  For the things concerning Me have an end.”

So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”

And He said to them, “It is enough.”

 Jesus continues with his single-minded purpose, taking the time to prepare his disciples for what is to come. “ …this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ …” He prays for Peter and later we read he prays for us all.  His request of Peter is that he strengthen his brothers.  We are told to pray for one another.  We let the Spirit do the work, we call on the Lord, lifting our brothers and sisters before him in prayer.  There is power in prayer and it is unleashed like the hand on the switch releases the power of electricity to do its work. There is a time to go with nothing and the Lord will provide and a time to make preparations to face what may come.  We have been given what we will need to face any conflict.  It is up to us to seek it and use it.  Christ’s focus is evident once more in his willingness to fulfill prophecy.  He faced it, knew what he was going into and took care of his disciples.  Outward focus, a purpose, an objective, and faithful to his assignment.  We can do no less.

Make me a servant…

Luke 22:24-30

 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.  And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.  For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

 “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

 Who among us is any better than another?  We have varying degrees of ability, skill and differences in personalities and characters but none that is necessarily better.  Maybe at times better suited for one thing over another, but that does not automatically translate in being inherently better as in a total sense.  The youngest among us will compete with each other for the ‘best’ position; whatever that is deemed to be.  This urge to be the best over others is common to mankind. Yet Christ modeled the ability to not be concerned about who is where but to have single-minded purpose in fulfilling the will of God.  This purpose looks outwardly, a What can I do for you attitude, rather than an inward view that pushes and shoves to be in an imaginary position of ‘lordship.’  Jesus maintained constant  communication with the Father and says he spoke the words the Father gave him and did the deeds the Father instructed him to do.  This indicates an intimate relationship, one he says we can have. 

 Therefore, we should look for ways to maintain contact with the Lord to better know him.  Let us be counted in that group that “… have continued with Me in My trials…”.  That would allow us to also be guided by a single-minded purpose as we make our way through this life.  Let us serve those around us with portions of God’s spiritual food, love and care.  

Make Me a Servant

Remember…

Luke 22:7-23

 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed.  And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.”

So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?”

 And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters.  Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’  Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.”

 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover.

When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you,  I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”

Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.

 Remember… This command/request is given frequently in the scripture.  It is important to remember what the Lord has said and done.  Remember.. our copy of scripture comes from those who remember with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Remember… We celebrate thanksgiving to remember what the Lord has done for us.  Remember.. The Lamb whose blood was shed for our sins,  who went willingly knowing what he must suffer.  Remember…

The betrayal… they were a closely knit group and did not truly know each other.  He knew and now so do we.  He knew the consequences and now so do we.  Betrayal – to give into the hands (of another);  it is used here and yet we know he went willingly.  This act was unnecessary. To give; in this case Judas gave knowledge of where Jesus was, it was not in his power to give Jesus to the guards, Jesus went willingly.  What Judas gave was his knowledge of where Jesus was and which of the men gathered there was Jesus.  Judas gave away his knowledge.  This knowledge allowed harm to come to Jesus. This knowledge was used to attempt to silence and eliminate Jesus.   Are we ever guilty of betrayal?  Do we trample on, attempt to silence the Word of God?  There were consequences for this act;” …woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”… Judas could no longer live with the knowledge of what he had done.  This is an act that betrays the love one states they have and makes it a lie.  What is our take away?  Remember… and always act in genuine love, avoid bringing harm to another.

Who do we fear?

Luke 22:1-6

 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.

Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.  And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.

1.They feared the people

2.Satan entered Judas

3.Betray when the people not there

The people were hungry for the Word of God and were drawn to Jesus’ teaching.  He was teaching daily, however, he was not one of the teachers of the law, he was not under an umbrella of governance that was to guard what he said and be sure it complied with the law all-inclusive, both that which was inspired by God and that which man had corrupted.  Jesus kept single-mindedly to teaching the Will of God.  This came into conflict with the teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees and his popularity only fed their jealousy.  To further fuel their displeasure, Jesus condemns their constant quest for honor and praise from the people, their self-centeredness.

 What do we take from this that can be applied to our own daily living?  Where is our focus?  We pray the will of God be done on heaven and earth.  Judas betraying Jesus was part of God’s plan for the redemption of mankind.  The natural bent of mankind to self-centeredness was exploited for the fulfillment of prophecy.  ” They were glad…”  another translation says “…they were delighted…”  Wonder if they thought God was providing a way for them to get rid of Jesus?  Yet they were so far from the Spirit of God, they did not have a sense of  the part they were about to play in His redemption plan and in the fulfillment of scripture.  Can we, scary thought, find ourselves in the same place?  Do we see the absolute necessity of staying immersed in the scripture, praying without ceasing, daily taking up our cross, all phrases from scripture that tell us we need to be in close communion with God, we need to know the heart of God?

 Test the spirits…the word tells us.  The leaders here showed evidence of their distance from God by their actions, prayers, daily living presence.  They were seeking the favor of the people not God.  We can test our own attitudes and find what is driving our actions, thoughts and daily living presence. Where is our focus, where is the center of our being?  Are we centered on the Lord?

Stay in touch; pray…

Luke 21:29-37

Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.  So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.  Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.  For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.  Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy  to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.

 Reading the signs, being advised and aware so the proper action can be taken is the message given here.  Proper action may be simply praying for someone to have wisdom and strength or it may mean an act of kindness or service for another in a time when most only do what is perceived as good for themselves.  Anyone working with plants or gardens, any farmer can tell you when to do what to have good results with the crops based upon the signs of the seasons and the conditions of the soil, weather and plants. We use that knowledge to determine if and when to apply fertilizer or moisture.  In the same way, we can be alert to the signs in our world that indicate the  ‘season’ of time and what needs to be done when.  This knowledge helps us to avoid being “…weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, …”.  When we hear of ‘wars and rumors of wars’, or ‘earthquakes and famine’ do we ask What can we do?  or do we quake in fear?  We possess the Spirit’s guiding and the promise of God’s blessings.  Jesus tells us when we read these signs to pray.  Prayer is staying in touch with the Lord.  We draw on His strength and wisdom.  Prayer is making requests known, for those who cross our paths, for those we love, for our own ‘daily bread’ needs.  Prayer is communion, communication with our Creator, hearing His voice and knowing what He requires of us in thought and action.  Pray that we may be able to escape — these events won’t have the same effect on us, the believer that they have on the unbeliever.  Pray that we may stand before the Lord, with confidence not in fear.  “…pray always that you may be counted worthy  to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

No reason to fear…

Luke 21:20-28

 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.  And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;  men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

According to this passage, these events will affect all.  Jesus talks to all in Judea, those in the city, those in the country, he tells them to flee, take action and then…  He calls it a time of punishment and fulfillment of prophecy.  Not only will mankind be agitated, all the creation will show agitation.  That will only increase the fear in mankind.  This is the time of Christ’s return to earth.  We are told to not react in fear, we are to take the necessary steps to protect and defend but not in fear, out of necessity.  We are told to stand, lift up our heads because redemption is near.  Fear does not control, God does.

Lift up your heads… we are not a depressed people.  Stand…we have a strength that goes beyond the natural, it is His.  When one knows they are about to be rescued, they are filled with anticipation and joy.  We, as believers, have no reason to fear.

Things are not what they seem…

Luke 21: 10-19

Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.  But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.  But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.  But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls. 

What happens to us often happens for the purpose of spreading God’s message to his creation when we belong to him and are called according to his will.  We hear many say that what happens to us is personal and yet this passage states it can come upon us as a result of our purpose in life and our calling, often caused by unseen hands.  Can we view our circumstances in the light of this passage and see the purpose of God in what we experience, not continue in the negative light but see what can be gained for God’s kingdom from what we are experiencing?  Jesus states: 1.  you will be persecuted, 2. put in prisons, 3. brought before those placed in positions of authority – all events that could be  seen as painful, threatening, personal attacks; but Jesus  says  see all of this as a means to be a witness.  So when we  face circumstances that at first we view as negative we can look for the reason and purpose.  Is there a way to continue the spread of the gospel?  Jesus says: “This will result in you being witnesses to them, ” an opportunity to share, an expansion of your borders. 

 Things are not what they seem – Paul suffered shipwreck and a new group was brought to the saving knowledge of God.  Paul did not let the circumstances deter his purpose and focus.  He continued single-mindedly to spread the good news, anyway.  We can do the same.

What will last…?

Luke 21:5-9

 Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”

 The temporary nature of what is made by mankind.  It has a beauty that does not last.  The temple was made by mankind, and just as man’s existence here is temporary, so is what man makes.  Jesus was not denying its beauty; but pointing out the coming destruction.  One man builds; another comes along and tears down.  Children build with blocks and inevitably, one of them will knock the creation down.  As with the concrete, physical  creations  of men, so too,  the teachings of men are temporary and often deceive and destroy.  We are given warning to  take heed of those ideas that upon first presentation sound good, look beautiful, but in the end will attempt to destroy that which is eternal.  The question then, is  what lasts?  What cannot be destroyed?  That which is put into motion by the Creator continues for eternity.  Jesus gives insight later when he says, “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”  What is created and built by God will last. 

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as [it is] in heaven….For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”

Genuine faith…

Luke 21:1-4

And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

 Where is the widow’s trust?  In the world system or in God’s provision?  There is a sister story in the old testament of a widow and her son during a time of famine.  She is preparing their last meal and then she is prepared to die when the prophet asks for that last meal.  She gives it to him and the Lord supplies her and her son with the food they need for the duration of the famine.  Her faithfulness, obedience and trust are blessed.  Unless we have stood in the shoes/sandals of these two widows, we cannot know the full extent of the deep trust it took to give what they had.  These two possessed the faith, love and obedience that the Lord teaches us we can have.  The kind of faith that pleases God.

This is an illustration of how God does not see things as we see them.  We only see the little bit; the pennies or the one cake of meal.  God sees the overflowing love in the heart of these two toward Him.  That ‘treasure in heaven’ is transformed by Him into very tangible and real provision for them.  We can take note of this and put the same love and faith into practice in our own lives.

 What can we take away from this?  Stop complaining about what we don’t have, be content with what we do have, and be faithful to the prompting of the Spirit to do what he asks with what we do have.  There is so much complaining going on right now in our world; we can let the light of Christ’s message shine in our not complaining, our being content with what we have.  This is about a giving spirit even when much is required of us, even when we ‘think’ we have too little.  1 Thessalonians 5:18  in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  He will provide.