by LA UBF   10/14/2006     0 reads




Luke 22:39-46

Key Verse 22:42

1. Read verses 39-40. As disciples who follow Jesus, what temptation(s) might come their way that they should pray? Why is prayer a safeguard against temptation?

2. Read verse 41. What do the following expressions teach us about [personal] prayer? a) "He withdrew..."; b) "knelt down"; and c) "and [prayed]".

3. Verse 42 describes Jesus' words of prayer. What does "this cup" refer to? (Luke 18:31-33) What does this passage teach us about: a) God the Father; b) Jesus; and c) the purpose of prayer (40,46)?

4. Read verse 43. When (during the time of Jesus' prayer) did the angel appear? What does this passage tell us about the efficacy of prayer? 

5. Read verse 44. In time of anguish what did Jesus do? To what extent did he struggle?

6. Read verses 45-46. Verse 45 explains the reason why the disciples fell "asleep". Yet, why does Jesus say, "Why are you sleeping?" What can we learn about the need for prayer? 





Luke 22:39-46

Luke 22:42 

    "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 

Today we would like to learn Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane is a place of mental and spiritual suffering in its worst form. Yet, Jesus turned the place of ultimate suffering into the place of glorious victory through prayer. Let us see how Jesus won the victory. 

First, the good habit of prayer

Look at verse 39. “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.” The expression “as usual” indicates that Jesus was in the good habit of prayer. Jesus became prominent in prayer, for he prayed each and every day. Because of the good habit of prayer, when the greatest battle of his life arrived, he was able to get into prayer and meet the challenge successfully. 

Once upon a time a brother I know used to have stinging pains in his left knee joint. When he complained about the problem to his friend who is a doctor in pharmacology, his friend said, “Oh, what you’ve got is an early sign of arthritis.” “What shall I do,” asked the brother. The friend said, “Go to a gym and exercise!” But the brother rebelled saying, “I don’t believe in exercise. Only those who do not know what to do with their life go to gyms and sweat.” But the doctor persuaded him and the brother gave in. Reluctantly, he bought a gym membership and started exercising. But he learned that it is really not easy to go to the gym regularly to exercise. Sometimes he made it once a week, sometimes once every two weeks. But he was told that in order to see results, he needs to exercise at least three times a week and exercise for at least forty minutes each time. Why did the brother find it so hard to exercise? It was because he was not in the habit of exercising. He was in the habit of sitting down on the couch and dawdling—and he neglected exercise for nearly three decades. It has now been about three months, and through lots of struggles, last month he barely managed to go two times a week. What was the result? A week ago he weighed himself on a scale. Lo and behold! His weight dropped from 190 pounds to 182 pounds. He lost 8 pounds in three months! And he is in slightly better shape than before. 

But listen to this: 1 Tim. 4:8 says, “[P]hysical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Think about what Jesus says in John 6:63: “The Spirit gives life; flesh counts for nothing.” Prayer is to go to the heavenly gym where God serves as a personal trainer. So we call prayer “godly exercise” in a godly gym. Without a gym card, you cannot get into a gym. Likewise, without God’s Spirit no one can pray to God. So the time to pray is the time to go to God’s spiritual gym and do spiritual exercise. 

Just as physical exercise requires lots of discipline, so also the spiritual exercise called prayer requires lots of discipline. And getting into the good habit of prayer is critical to our mental and spiritual health. It is the key to meeting all the challenges of life. 

How are you doing lately? Do you feel lonely, lost, or confused? Are you anxious about anything? Do you feel sad or sorrowful for no reason? If this is the case, by all means, consider Jesus’ example, that is, to go to God’s spiritual gym, and do the spiritual exercise of prayer. If you are not convinced about the efficacy of prayer, try to find some books on prayer. Or talk to spiritual friends and ask. In talking to one sister, she said to me, “Pray to pray.” She was quite right. If you are NOT in the habit of prayer, pray to be in the good habit of prayer. Then the Lord will put you in better shape, and then in really good shape.  

Second, the purpose of prayer 

For those who are in good shape mentally, spiritually, or otherwise, the next important thing to do is to continue to remain in shape. To be in shape is one thing, to continue to remain in shape is another. 

When Shepherd Charles and I went to Lagos, Nigeria, Missionary Monica checked three of us (Shepherd Daniel Rhee of Korea, Charles, and myself) into the “Guest House” which is located at the most scenic part of Lagos University. But the problem was that they did not maintain the building. Apparently, during British rule, British engineers built the facilities. October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained political independence from the UK. British engineers all left the country. Nigerians took over the management. But, for the last forty plus years they neglected taking care of the building. So a lot of things were not working. Doors were squeaky. Toilets were leaking. Window screens remained broken, so no matter how tightly you close the doors, somehow mosquitoes still got in and took care of Shepherd Charles. 

From a spiritual standpoint, to be saved by Jesus’ grace is one thing, to continue to remain in good shape as a saved person is quite another. Thus far Jesus saved his disciples through his living word. [Judas Iscariot is an exception for he rejected Jesus as the source of salvation.] Speaking of the same effect, Jesus said to his disciples, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). A few minutes before, except for Judas Iscariot, the Eleven disciples received the communion service. Then Jesus came out to the place. This was the place of prayer. What did Jesus say to them? Look at verse 40. “On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’” 

Notice that Jesus did not say, “Pray that the devil would not come,” or “Pray that God would take away all sorts of temptations.” Rather, Jesus said, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” The devil was sure to come, and is coming. And guess what? The Devil comes not just through things like R or X-rated movies, or stuff like cocaine or MTV, but through a close friend! Satan “entered” Judas. Judas went in and out. Once he went out, he was not to come back. But he was coming back, step by step. And he was coming with a “gentle” kiss. Judas was one of the Twelve. He used to eat, talk, and play soccer together everyone. But temptation is not the real problem. MTV, drugs, pornography, the promiscuous culture, or broken family relationships are not the real problems. Ephesians 4:19 reads, “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” Our society is filled with people who have lost all sensitivity. But the wicked society itself is not the real problem. The problem is you, a Christian, not praying. 

“Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” If Jesus wanted, he could have destroyed Judas Iscariot. But Jesus did not. Jesus allowed him to go free. And Judas is coming. At that particular moment, Jesus asked the remaining disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation. Yes, Jesus is going to die for their sins on a tree. Yes, they participated in the communion service. Yes, they were all made clean through the words Jesus had spoken. But if they fall into temptation, what will happen to them? 

Pray that they will not fall into temptation. The question that follows is, “How do we pray?” 

Third, the preparations 

Look at verse 41. “He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed…” This passage is an inch short in length, but a mile deep in meaning. There are three steps to consider in getting ourselves prepared for the victory through prayer. 

No. 1: He withdrew. 

No. 2: He knelt down. 

No. 3: And he prayed. 

Withdrawal is to secure privacy with God. Kneeling down refers to our attitude before God. The expression, “And he prayed,” talks about the main dish. 

Jesus withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them. Jesus’ schedule was tight. Jesus’ disciples were always around. Yet, even in a life-together with the disciples, Jesus secured a private moment with God. 

A sister I know applied Jesus’ wisdom. While on campus she used to have a hard time. She felt like crying (I mean praying). But she could not find a place to pray. Then she got an idea. She went to a bathroom. Then, seated on a toilet, she cried out to God. Then she felt better. 

A man named Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921) is famous (or notorious, depending on how you see him) for the Scofield Reference Bible. His biography indicates that even after getting saved in 1879, he demonstrated lots of problems like him abandoning his wife Leontine Scofield and his two daughters Abigail and Helen, which resulted in a divorce decree in 1883. His character proved dubious because he started calling himself Dr. Scofield without producing a doctorate degree from any seminary or university. He also stole $1,300 from his wife’s mother. But, due to tons of problems he learned the importance of prayer, which led him to begin cottage prayer meetings. And his favorite place of prayer was in the shower. While he was in the shower, no one bothered him. Plus, being in the shower he felt good. In one of his sermons he exhorted his congregation saying, “Each time you take shower, pray to God, believing and praying that God would wash away all of your sins.”  

Without a doubt a humble attitude is the key to winning victories in prayer. It has been said, “In the school of success, attitude is everything.” How can we maintain a humble attitude before God? Isaiah 55:6-10 answer the question: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater.’” 

Fourth, faith and prayer

If you are a Christian, or if you have studied the Bible regularly or have been attending worship services and listened to sermons regularly, you probably must have heard lots of messages on the importance of prayer. So you want to pray. But practically when you try to pray, it is not easy for you to stay engaged in prayer. Yes, you have found a private corner. Yes, you have quieted your mind and soul. Yes, you have humbled yourself, so you are ready to listen to whatever God has to say. But here is the problem: where is God? Where is God’s voice coming from? So a lot of people come to a private cozy spot, kneel down and fall asleep. 

Why is this? We can find an answer to this question in what Jesus did at the seat of prayer. What did he say? What was his first word of prayer? Look at verse 42, “Father!” 

This one word indicates Jesus’ strong faith in God the Father. He believed in the absolute goodness of his heavenly Father. In John 10:30 Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” There is a Bible passage which demonstrates the kind of relationship Jesus had with his Father: John 10:15-17: “[J]ust as the Father knows me and I know the Father—the reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.” The Apostle John then says that God is love. (1Jo 4:16) And love comes from God. (1Jo 4:7) These verses tell us that faith in God, which is based on the personal knowledge of Gods’ goodness, is the key to win victories in prayer. 

This loving relationship with the loving Father has been accorded to not just Jesus but to all who believe in Him, as Romans 8:15 testifies, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” So at the prayer seat, if you can utter from the depths of your soul and heart, “Abba, Father,” and then fall asleep, still you’ve made a very important step toward victory.  

Fifth, the request

What then did Jesus pray for? Look at verse 42 again. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 

For a long period of time a pastor I know used to avoid offering a prayer request along this line. Why? It was because he thought that this prayer was too holy for a sinful man like him to make. In addition, knowing how selfish and weak he is, he thought that it was too difficult for him to pray like this. 

But one day when he read Romans 12:1-2, the Lord spoke to him personally, so that since that time each time he prays in private, he struggles to pray as Jesus did. Let us then go to Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Prayer time is the time of worship. It is the time to enjoy God for his holiness and for his love. It is the time for us to get into God’s perfect goodness. And it is the time for us to get enlightened that God’s will is perfectly good, whereas our own will is less than perfect.  Knowing God’s perfect goodness, Jesus prayed that God’s will be done. 

Sixth, the answer 

In verse 43 then we see the answer to Jesus’ prayer request. “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” The previous night, the wife of a pastor said, “I am so tired. All of my strength is gone. Don’t bother me.” The pastor did not bother her. The next morning then, around 7 a.m., the wife made lots of noise. While the pastor was lying in bed, from the kitchen she sang loudly. The pastor felt embarrassed and ask her, “What is going on? You said you lost all your strength. Yet, you are so noisy now. What is going on?” She said, “Prayer strengthens!” Obviously, while sleeping or during the morning prayer time, she must have prayed a lot. 

As Jesus gained more strength, the pressure mounted up more. Look at verse 44. “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Why did Jesus have to sweat so much? Why did his sweat become like drops of blood? The wife of the said pastor asked the same questions. She kept asking her husband, “Why this, why that? Please explain to me.” The pastor never prayed sweating. His sweat never became like drops of blood. So how could he know? So the pastor said to his wife, “Sweat has to do with man sinning. Remember that Jesus never sinned.” Then, something clicked in her mind. She said, “Oh, I see. It is very difficult for you to bear even one sinner like you. But, Jesus had to bear all sinners.” The pastor said to himself, “Hmm…” 

Seventh, sleep is never an alternative to prayer 

Look at verses 45-46. “When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’” This passage tells us that sleep is never a solution to the problems at hand. In fact, while we fall asleep, the devil works harder, with the problems getting bigger. And problems, particularly the ones inside, will never go away until they are resolved fully. But prayer is the solution. 

One Word: Father! 







Luke 22:39-46

Key Verse 22:42

In this passage Jesus teaches us about prayer. 

1. Read verses 39-40. As disciples who follow Jesus, what temptation(s) might come their way that they should pray? Why is prayer a safeguard against temptation?

** Temptation to "not" follow Jesus all the way, but rather drop the race, and run away from following Jesus, abandoning the purpose of God's calling for them.

** Through prayer we can confirm that God's will (to deny ourselves, take up the cross from God, and follow Jesus all the way, no matter what) is truly "good" and "perfect" not just for us, but for all. The devil always deceives us into believing the other way around is true.   

2. Read verse 41. What do the following expressions teach us about [personal] prayer? a) "He withdrew..."; b) "knelt down"; and c) "and [prayed]".

** These are the steps needed to "prepare" ourselves before coming to the seat of prayer. That is, first we need to be alone with God and God only, for God has his own will for each person. Second, we need to truly believe in God's goodness. The expression "knelt down" illustrates the kind of faith Jesus has towards the Father. Faith is indeed a total surrender to God, knowing that God knows far better than us. In Jesus' belief, all things (e.g., the terrible mob coming to take Jesus and subject Him to such horrible treatment) happen all out of God's good and perfect will. Then, and only then, we are ready to experience the victory through prayer. 

3. Verse 42 describes Jesus' words of prayer. What does "this cup" refer to? (Luke 18:31-33) What does this passage teach us about: a) God the Father; b) Jesus; and c) the purpose of prayer (40,46)?

** Luke 18:31-33 (This passage indicates that Jesus' foreknowledge of the cross to come.)

** God is a good God who always wills what is good and perfect all the time for his children. God is also the Father who protects and provides. God is also the God who has his own "will". 

** Jesus was being "honest" about himself like himself not desiring to take the cup. This is important because any hint of unwillingness if left unaddressed will eventually work as a sinkhole. 

** It is to confirm fully and accept God's will (even if it meant to suffer and die for the sins not committed by him) to the point of having oneself ready to obey willingly and joyfully, so our obedience would be fully graceful. 

4. Read verse 43. When (during the time of Jesus' prayer) did the angel appear? What does this passage tell us about the efficacy of prayer? 

** After Jesus started out presenting requests to God. 

** It is effective in that it "strengthens" oneself causing him to lean on the side of obeying rather than disobeying God's will. 

5. Read verse 44. In time of anguish what did Jesus do? To what extent did he struggle?

** He prayed "more earnestly".

** Until his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. 

6. Read verses 45-46. Verse 45 explains the reason why the disciples fell "asleep". Yet, why does Jesus say, "Why are you sleeping?" What can we learn about the need for prayer?

** It is because sleep cannot help man rise from a fleshly level to God's level, and thereby discern God's will, whereby prayer helps one gain the momentum to overcome temptation and strengthens one to obey God's will. 

** It is the only way for us to gain God's wisdom, see the goodness of God's will, and gain the strength to obey God's will. 

The end